The Delaware County Daily Times reported the Chester police announced a new Smartphone app is coming…

To aid the public in communicating with the department, it has been developing a smartphone app expected to be rolled out in early January. The department believes it to be the first of its kind in Pennsylvania for a municipal police force. The success of the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office app has been used as a model by Chester police.

Folks love their Smartphones. Hopefully this app will encourage more people to share with the police important information that can help solve crimes. A lot of people don’t like calling 911 with all the questions they’re required to ask so maybe a mobile app will seem like a less intrusive way to get information to the police.

The biggest feature may be the ability to send police the photos from your phone. Often, the public is on the scene much sooner than police and some of the early evidence can make a big difference in solving a crime.

“People can use (the app) to contact the police, submit crime photos, a wanted list – anything they want,” said Nolan. “Anything they want to know about the police department will be on this app.”

Now let’s not go too far. I’ve been asking for a place to see photos of Chester cops with their names and maybe a small bio. Silly me thinks it would be great to know the city cops by name when we encounter them around town. Right now, the vast majority of the police force are complete strangers to me. Is that coming to the app?

Since the new app will be modeled after the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office app, I  downloaded the Sheriff’s app to see what it looks like. It comes with this description…

The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office mobile application is an interactive app which will help improve our communication with Delaware County citizens. Information will include, but not be limited to contact information, news, emergency alerts, local weather, event calendar, inmate search, firearms licensing, Sheriff Sales, and Most Wanted. Citizens may submit a crime tip directly through the app, as well as see and share social media posts. By empowering people through technology, the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office will be able to better protect our county.

This App is not meant to be used to report emergency situations. If you have an emergency please call 911.

Opps. Forget what I said earlier about using the app for 911. Since you’ll have the phone in your hand anyway, it would be quicker and make more sense to call 911 if you have a real emergency. You’ll know you’re talking to a real live person. There’s no telling when someone will read your app submission.

As with any mobile app, it’s only as good as the information it provides. Looking at the Sheriff’s app, it’s very good at providing contact information that allows you to call a contact person right away with one touch. The home screen has a link to submit a tip, a list of recent activity from their Facebook page, and a link to take you to all their social media sites.

The drop down menu has a lot of items with static information like a Sheriff bio; how to get gun permits; handgun safety tips; blubs on the K-9 unit, Honor Guard, and Becoming a Deputy.

There’s a link to the Megan’s Law and Most Wanted folks (although the Most Wanted lists is from 5 months ago).

I was hoping the News section would be sort of a crime blotter, but it only has one entry and the Events section has two old entries.

The Inmate Search section is very good and very important.

As with any mobile app or website, there needs to be dedicated resources to keep the information current if you expect people to download the app and use it on a regular basis.

If I were designing an app for the Chester police I’d probably try to focus on only a few specific tasks like: Contact Information, Submit a Crime Tip, Inmate Search, a current Most Wanted List. It would be nice to see a list of all crimes committed in Chester (a crime blotter), but I don’t see that happening.

I think the Chester Police app could be a good thing. I believe it will work best if it’s kept as simple as possible. I just don’t think this app should be used to check the weather or to read their Facebook posts.

FYI. Chester does have an app. You can download the Chester Matters app to get more than just the crime news of Chester. It’s the place to view all issues of the Chester Matters paper. It’s still new and a work in progress but I’m throwing a lot of resources behind it in the New Year to make it the best community app around. We accept all submission and community calendar events for free. Send to news@chestermatter.news

Download Chester Matters app here:

Apple

Google