At the 2014 International Association of Chiefs of Police annual conference, WiredBlue, a Boston area civic startup founded in 2011, unveiled the latest version of the My Police Department (MyPD) app. This new version is a major update and overhaul of the app. The MyPD app currently serves the citizens of almost 200 law enforcement agencies in the United States and Canada. Version 3 of MyPD continues to innovate the public safety app landscape.
“We developed the My Police Department app back in 2011 to bring a low-cost smartphone app to police departments and the public they serve. We strive to create useful tools that help citizens easily connect with their local police,” said WiredBlue Founder Peter Olson. “With this latest version we overhauled MyPD’s user interface, added and improved features, and are the first law enforcement app to use gamification.”
The My Police Department app’s primary features support law enforcement agencies and the public they serve. These include:
Real-time push notifications and alerts via twitter or other channels
Information on topics of; victim resources, press releases, domestic violence, local traffic, drug resources, most wanted, cold cases, and more
Information about missing children across the state
Ability for citizens to send in questions or concerns anonymously, along with photos and GPS location
Optional push messages from any law enforcement agency using the app
Visualization of data for the police department to understand how the app is being used
MyPD becomes more powerful for the public as more agencies join. “If you have a group of cities and towns in one area people can interact with multiple agencies and get alerts not only for their hometown but also where their kids go to college, or where they work.” Said Peter Olson “You can get them all from one app, you don’t need to download 3 different apps and that was the original concept behind it, to avoid fragmentation for the public user”
The My Police Department app also provides agencies an app for a fraction of the cost compared to traditional app developers. “Given the features and design we believe our model and app platform is many times the best approach for a town or city budget.” Said Olson.
MyPD can easily be used and implemented for any city in the country. It takes most agencies less than a week to sign up and launch.
“The MyPD app gives our community immediate access to their police department like never before,” said Stephanie Slater, public information officer for the Boynton Beach (FL) Police Department. “So many of our residents are using it to submit crime tips and thank officers for their assistance. We are excited for what our new version has in store for the citizens of Boynton Beach.”
While the app is not a social media network, it does have some social aspects to it and has added a new key feature where users can “unlock” and share badges.
The app user can climb in rank and unlock new badges the more they interact with the agency. This approach is a first for a public safety type app.”
MyPD also now lets users share some basic anonymous data about their age, gender, or how they found out about the app. This is optional and if shared will help the police department to better understand things like who is using the app, how they found it, and if they live or work in the city.
MyPD is free for the public, contains no advertising, and users do not need to share personal information or set up an account to use the app. Any information sharing is optional.
“We are excited to use our new version of MyPD and offer many new features.” Said Deputy Chief Marty Cohan of the Peabody Massachusetts Police. “Our number of app users has grown now to a few thousand. We are seeing more citizen messages, almost double from a year ago. We are certain that our users will enjoy our new design and public interaction will continue to grow.”