Thurston County, Wash., Sheriff's Office Launches Public Safety App

One of the app's most popular features likely will be the “sex offender” section, where county residents can search for registered sex offenders in their neighborhoods and sign up for email alerts.

by Amelia Dickson, The Olympian (Olympia, Wash.) / January 26, 2017

(TNS) -- In a push for accessibility, the Thurston County, Wash., Sheriff’s Office has rolled out a smartphone app.

The app, available for both iPhone and Android, allows local residents to file reports online and keep an eye on crime in their neighborhoods. The Sheriff’s Office is the first local agency to create such an app.

“Ultimately, we want to do as much as we can to improve public interaction,” said Sgt. Carla Carter, a department spokeswoman. “And part of that involves keeping up with the new technology.”

She expects that one of the most popular features of the app will be the “sex offender” section. There, Thurston County residents can search for registered sex offenders in their neighborhoods and sign up for email alerts.

The app also will feature a “crime mapping” section, which will allow people to keep tabs on local crime.

App users can enable push notifications, which will inform them of active events in Thurston County, of missing persons and more.

“I think that could be one of the most beneficial features,” Carter said.

Sheriff John Snaza said in December that the launch of the app is just another step in the Sheriff’s Office’s push to become more open and transparent.

“We want people in Thurston County to know what we’re up to,” Snaza said.

Carter said a few hundred people have downloaded the app so far, and she hopes it will become more popular in coming weeks.

The Sheriff’s Office also uses Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to reach Thurston County residents. The agency’s Twitter handle is @ThurstonSheriff, and the Sheriff’s Office can be found on Instagram at @thurstoncountysheriff.

“I hope that people download the app, and that it becomes an effective tool for us to reach more people,” Carter said.

To get the app, users simply go to their phone’s app store, and search for Thurston County Sheriff.

©2017 The Olympian (Olympia, Wash.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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