IMPD encourages people to use new public safety apps responsibly

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INDIANAPOLIS Ind.– A new app called “Citizen” has launched in the Circle City to give you real time notifications about nearby emergencies and ongoing incidents.

"What we do is we make it possible for you to know what’s happening in your area to get the real-time 911 notifications," App investor Ben Jealous said.

The new app "Citizen" uses police scanner traffic to send out notifications.

"You won’t get the noise of suspicious person report, but you will see if it’s a fire, missing person, or local bank is being robbed," Jealous said.

Once something is reported and if a user is nearby; they can live stream what’s happening.

This is a little concerning for law enforcement.

"The way you want to find out should not be though social media," IMPD Officer Genae Cook said.

Ben Jealous is the former NAACP National President and an investor of the app. He says all the video is monitored in real-time.

"We’ve hired former journalists and former first responders who are watching every video. If it’s inappropriate they pull it down right away," Jealous said.

He says the point of the app is to make people feel safer.

IMPD doesn’t have an issue with the app. They just want people to use it responsibly.

"We encourage people that when they see the incident not to go to the incident. They should avoid the area. Allow first responders and police officers to do their jobs," Officer Cook said.

Police say scenes can be more dangerous than they appear to be.

"What we might be called to the scene for might evolve into something else," Officer Cook said.

Another popular app is “Relay”.

It allows users to send non-emergency incidents to local law enforcement.

In fact, Fishers Police encourage people to use it.

Fishers police chief Ed Gebhart says “relay is a home run for community engagement. people love to use apps and their phones this really meets them where they are.”

Jealous hopes the "Citizen" app makes people feel more at ease, but Officer Cook says just remember to be mindful.

"Someone’s worst day is not entertainment for entertainment purposes for others," Officer Cook said.

For more information on "Citizen"; click here.

For more information on "Relay"; click here.

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