The Hanover Park police department is launching a Facebook page and smartphone app today as part of a new program aimed at enhancing communication between police and residents through technology.
Lt. Andy Johnson was the chairman of a committee that helped develop the "Police and Citizens Connected" program, which has five components.
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The component he is most excited about is MyPD, an application accessible through a smartphone or computer that provides residents with a way to send in crime tips with optional GPS coordinates, along with a listing of department contacts and the ability to send a commendation for a police officer.
Residents can download the app through the iTunes store and Android Marketplace, or access it through their computers by visiting www.mypolicedepartment.org.
Johnson called the app "a cutting edge technology," noting that the Hanover Park police department will be the first in Illinois to use it.
Another component of the program is the department's new Facebook page, which includes links to separate pages dedicated to each of the department's six area response teams, or patrol beats, and the code enforcement division. The department will host a "virtual ride-along" on Facebook from 6 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 31, during which time residents can follow the activities of a police officer via wall posts on the Facebook page.
A third and fourth component will be focused on alerting residents about emergencies. The department will start utilizing Nixle, a program that sends customizable, short message alerts via text message or email to residents who register at www.nixle.com. The department will also continue its practice of issuing e-alerts, which are longer email messages that occasionally include attachments.
The final component of the program is a YouTube channel, which Johnson said will include surveillance videos related to crime, recruitment videos and messages from the chief of police and command staff.
Johnson said the department will now be focusing on getting as many residents as possible to utilize the services.
"Obviously the more users on Facebook and the more people we can get to sign up ... I think the safer the community is," he said. "The more word-of-mouth we get out there, the faster the program will spread."