New smartphone app connects residents to sheriff’s office

Published 9:29 am Wednesday, March 7, 2012

By NICOLE LOGGINS / Staff Writer

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office has announced a partnership with the National Sheriff’s Association’s Neighborhood Watch program.

The partnership offers another way citizens can communicate with the sheriff’s department using an application for smartphones, said the press release.

According to the release issued by the sheriff’s office, the app was designed by the developers of NSA’s National Neighborhood Watch Toolkit and training program. The Neighborhood Watch app allows citizens to instantly report community concerns to the sheriff’s office.

“The way it works is someone can download that app and select us as their home agency,” said Captain Ken Burchfield with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. “They can text a message to the program, it sends it directly to us via email and we distribute that throughout our office.”

The app includes the options to add photos and text to a message and is linked to a proprietary database of law enforcement entities. It enables citizens to report neighborhood concerns or ask questions of their local law enforcement agency.

Burchfield said the app should not be used to report emergencies.

“This would be an app that maybe someone may ask about having speed bumps put in a neighborhood because of excessive speeding or to change school bus stops in a neighborhood,” Burchfield said.

“That’s the kinds of things the app is for, it should not be used for emergencies,” he added. “For emergency use you have 911, or you can call us directly at the office.”

The NW app also offers innovative features such as mini training videos and tips on starting, revitalizing or expanding your local neighborhood watch program. Additionally, the ‘Ask the Expert’ section allows users to query national crime prevention and NSA Neighborhood Watch experts on topics of interest.

With this official Neighborhood Watch app there is no law enforcement agency subscription fee or any monthly fees.  The only charge associated with this program is a $1.99 app fee charged by the app stores (iPhone, Blackberry, Android) to users who download the app.

Citizens may purchase the NW app by visiting the app store for their type of smartphone and searching for “Official Neighborhood Watch App,” or going to and clicking on the icon that corresponds to their phone.

“Sheriffs are trying to become more mainstream and give our citizens another way to communicate with us,” Burchfield said.

Questions or requests for additional information can be directed to the NSA’s Neighborhood Watch program at (972) 576-8662 or Captain Ken Burchfield at 670-6286.