The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office is the first county in the U.S. to allow citizens to learn about emergency situations through an improved mobile phone app with iPhones, a supplier spokesman said Friday.
The free app through Appriss, Inc. allows Sheriff Robert Arnold’s office to distribute photos of missing children and adults or to inform residents about emergency conditions, said Director Tim Lee of Appriss, Inc., mobile division.
For example, the sheriff’s office may place a photo of a missing child or adult on the app and the user will receive a flashing red alert. The information may allow citizens to spot the vehicle transporting an abducted child and call 911 so deputies can recover the missing child.
“That is the most powerful emergency alert tool put in any iPhone app I’ve seen,” Lee said. “I can’t wait until I receive a call that the app saved a life.”
The phone app is free without cost to the taxpayers, the director said. The service is paid by attorneys and bail bondsmen who advertise on the site. The iPhone app may be downloaded by searching “TNRutherfordSO” on the App Store. It may be downloaded on the Android App by searching “TNRutherfordSO” on Google Play.
Sheriff Arnold said the app will be used to inform citizens about traffic crashes, road closures, evacuations and other emergency situations. The app also allows victims to receive information about offenders through the Victim Information and Notification Everyday system. Users may also gain information about suspects arrested, warrants, the Most Wanted criminals, sheriff’s Facebook and a telephone directory for the sheriff’s office.
Lt. Larry Pace, who coordinated the app for the sheriff’s office, said the alert function should be operational in a couple of weeks. Also, sex offender information will be added in the future.
“People can look at the Most Wanted list, victims can be notified of inmate releases and they can go on this app and report a crime,” Pace said.
Lee said in the 24 hours after the Rutherford County app went online Tuesday, 205 people downloaded it in Tennessee and nine other states. He expects 3,000 to 4,000 downloads in the first two weeks. Upgrades are free.
Citizens are expected to use the app on a daily basis on mobile phones and iPads, the director said.
Sheriff Arnold “will be the envy of every sheriff in the country, no doubt,” Lee said.