By Edward Cardenas

DETROIT (CBS Detroit) – The Detroit Police Department launched a new app Tuesday which will expand the reach and connectivity of the department and its officers to smart phone users.

The app, developed by Detroit Labs, provides information about the city and departments, allows tips to be submitted anonymously through the app and contact numbers for precincts, bureaus and other departments.

“This app is designed to bring the community and the Detroit police department closer together,” said Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who added that this app will help build a “strong relationship with the community.” “We believe that going forward that this app will help facilitate that.”

The app, which is available for both iPhone and Android smart phones, was developed over the course of the nearly three months by the team at Detroit Labs. Craig added that Detroit is one of the first departments to offer this type of app, and in the future, it will offer one of the most state-of-the-art apps to connect with the community in the nation including push notifications of local crimes.

Sgt. Michael Woody, who was the department liaison with Detroit Labs, stated that this is a “phase one” app. Even though this is the first generation of the app, it offers some advanced features to “engage the community in new innovative ways” including:

  • Publishing department news and press releases including statistics, major crime summary reports and missing persons reports
  • Connect to department social media pages
  • Find phone numbers and emails for precincts, captains and neighborhood police officers
  • Anonymously submit tips to the department through the app. Woody added the tips come to the department through a series of filters and cannot be tracked to who sent it.

“It’s at the very beginning of a much larger program we are hoping to pilot and get off the ground very soon,” said Woody, who is already planning on the next phase of the app. “We dream very big here in the Detroit Police Department, so we got a lot of plans.”

Dan Ward, co-founder of Detroit Labs, said his team wanted to something for the city because “Detroit is who we are.”

“We want to continue to help Detroit in any way we can,” said Ward.

The launch of the police department app is just another step in connecting Detroit’s city hall with the public, Mayor Mike Duggan stated.

In addition to the police department app, the city is developing an app which will allow residents to report a downed tree, dump site and water main break and allow it to be routed to the proper city department. Also, an app for the Detroit Department of Transportation which will allow residents to find bus schedules and locations of buses.

“We are going to make the smart phone the average citizen’s connection to city hall in so many ways,” Duggan said.

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