New app brings California police into 'electronic age'
Want to know the latest crime that occurred in California Borough? There's an app for that.
Spearheaded by police Chief Rick Encapera, residents will be able to download an app to their cell phones to see everything from crime alerts to recent arrests by borough police. The app is free to download and use.
“I felt the need to upgrade and get into the electronic age,” Encapera said. “I've been looking for some time. When I found this, they gave me a whole list of county sheriff's departments and other police departments around the country using this. It looks like it's working in other areas.”
For app users, every time California police file charges, it will be posted, as well as a site map that flags locations of every alleged incident. There is a direct link to 911, the U.S. Department of Justice's web page for registered sex offenders and a link to send tips to borough police and to report abandoned vehicles.
“There are some apps with emergency alerts, but this incorporates a whole lot more,” Encapera said. “We'll be able to warn residents in real time and have a wanted section where anyone police are looking for is listed with details of the person's description.
“We still have a lot of information to add on, but I'm liking it so far.”
At the request of Encapera and borough manger Tim Buchanan, council last month approved fronting approximately $1,200 for AppArrest.com to set up the app.
As of Wednesday, anyone who owns an Android device can download the app.
According to Phil Coraci of AppArrest, Android users can go into their app panel and look for the “Play Store” app. Open the play store and click “apps.” In the top search bar, type in “California Borough Police Department” and the app should list for your free download.
Coraci said the app will be available for iPhone users within two to four weeks. The app contains no advertisements and adheres to privacy guidelines set by both Apple and Android, he added.
Encapera said the app can be a tool for police as well.
“Suppose we have a robbery and we're looking for, say, a red Chevy van with two black males and one white male,” he said. “I can load it up right now and everyone gets an immediate alert. If they see the van, they can dial 911 and report it.”
Encapera agreed that with the borough packed with college-aged kids thanks to California University of Pennsylvania, the app is ideal for a police force like his.
“What the beauty of this is, any resident of the borough can apply, as can any former resident,” he said. “University students and their parents can keep in tune with what's going on because, let's face it, kids don't always tell their parents what goes on.”
Encapera said he will spend at least 15 minutes each morning updating criminal complaints for the app. He is also organizing a calendar that lists all borough, university and school district events.
“If someone wants to report something, they'll post it and I'll receive it,” he said. “The best thing is to make the people in the community feel we're working for them, make them feel safe and know we're just a fingertip away and at their disposal.”
Encapera said he knows all the information he receives will not be legitimate, but that it's no different than sifting through tips on a daily basis.
“I got skeptical looks from some of my officers, but people are going to see that the police are busy doing this and this,” he said. “I've got big shoulders. I just think it's something that needs to be done to keep everyone in tune.”
Encapera said he wants to incorporate the app with an active Facebook page. The veteran officer said he's embracing the untested combination of social media and law enforcement.
“I don't get excited about too much, my wife even gets mad that I don't show much emotion, but I see a future in this,” he said. “I mean, look around. There isn't a kid out there that's not staring at their phone right now. This is the 2014 way of keeping people informed.”
Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-684-2635.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Monessen man jailed for stabbing
- Man’s holiday spirit lights up Belle Vernon
- 2 charged in Charleroi drug, gun find case
- West Newton foster father faces child sex charges
- Trio arrested by Monessen police on drug charges
- Trials ordered for 2 charged in Monongahela mugging case
- News was plentiful in pre-holiday rush of December 1957
- Cal U students aid Fayette survey
- Convocation center booze battle rages on for California and Cal U
- Ringgold agrees to stay under Pa. tax limit
- Rostraver seeks big bucks from gas service co.