Laclede Co Sheriffs Department teams up with tech company on safety app

LACLEDE CO., Mo. Law enforcement is always looking for better ways to keep you safe.

The Laclede County Sheriff's Office is teaming up with a tech company to improve public safety.

"People are more concerned with safety in their community than ever," said application developer, Jim Carr.

The Laclede County native worked for two years on the safety application for smartphones.

"Our objective with Emergenceme was to build a platform that allowed the community and public safety officials to work together and to save time in critical situations," he said.

The open alert system lets users alert others in the community about potential dangers.

"Press it once for a caution, twice for a warning. You press it a third time it opens the speaker phone and dials 911. We don't consider ourselves a substitute for the 911 system. We want to enhance it and work with it," he explains.

It's a tool for law enforcement too.

Carr shows us a screen where information is distributed.

"The ones with the badge are an alert that was sent by a public safety official. You can pick information to view what the alert is," he said.

Laclede County Sheriff David Millsap said, "We can be interactive. When we have an issue that we can immediately let them know about this. If we had a barricade where you had somebody that was holding up in a house that wouldn't come out or a hostage situation you could send that out. That way people would know to stay away from the area."

Developers are working on adding more features for safety.

"Like an Amber Alert right now, is a lot of times, it's just text information. We can show location. You can add images to it and then it could all be viewed by the public," said Carr.

They are also looking more closely at ways to keep people safe during natural disasters.

"They were concerned that someone might survive the storm but be stuck in a shelter. We've tried to add things like that do you have a storm shelter, if so where is it. Then it's viewable by public safety in the event of an emergency. Our goal is for everybody's smartphone to be a tool for community safety," said Carr.

Currently, the application is only live and connected to the Laclede County 911 center. Users can download it for free online.

Developers are hoping other local law enforcement agencies will pick it up soon.