In light of the recent ambush attacks on law enforcement, the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) is concerned that those who have grievances with law enforcement could use the App feature to plan or carry out an attack. Sheriffs are concerned with the ability of Google’s App, Waze, to locate law enforcement by using the crowdsourcing feature to report an officer’s location.
“While officer safety is paramount and our major concern, we are also concerned this app will have a negative effect on saving lives and with public safety activities,” said John Thompson, NSA Deputy Executive Director. The ability for individual or organized crime to track law enforcement puts every community they protect at risk! If the bad guy knows where law enforcement is all the time, it makes it much easier for them to carry out their illegal activities.
Highway deaths claim more than 30,000 lives each year. The use of radar and other speed reducing activities have helped make a substantial reduction in these numbers. This app will hamper those activities by locating law enforcement officers and puts the public at risk.
The NSA leadership has requested a meeting with Google to see what can be done to disable this feature in the App. Sheriff Michael J. Brown, Bedford County, Virginia remarked, “The police community needs to coordinate an effort to have the owner, Google, act like the responsible corporate citizen they have always been and remove this feature from the application even before any litigation or statutory action.” NSA hopes to sit down with Google soon to discuss the concern we have with the App.
In the meantime, the NSA will provide its members with a series of webinars and trainings on the App so that local law enforcement understands how the App works. NSA understands with the explosion of technology these types of Apps will crop up, but we must all be responsible. NSA’s focus is to work with developers to make sure that our officers and the communities they serve remain safe.