Tulsa County Sheriff's Office unveils free smartphone app
BY JERRY WOFFORD World Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
12/18/12 at 6:37 AM
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The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office hopes to make information more accessible to residents wherever they are.
A new, free smartphone application makes available in one place multiple services the Sheriff's Office provides, including Tulsa Jail roster information, the sex-offender registry, community alerts and victim notification.
"We always try to stay up in the latest technology," Sheriff Stanley Glanz said. "It is very important to have this communication with the Tulsa community."
The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office app is one of a handful of law enforcement apps in the country and the first in Oklahoma, Glanz said.
The Sheriff's Office was approached last year about developing the app by the person who developed an app for the Washington County Sheriff's Office in Arkansas. That person's small company was bought by Appriss, which continued to develop the application for Tulsa County.
Glanz said the Kentucky-based Appriss, which developed the Victim Information and Notification Everyday - or VINE - network and other law enforcement-related software, continued to develop the app at no up-front cost to the Sheriff's Office.
"We didn't have to invest any funds to start it up," Glanz said, adding that similar applications can cost as much as $35,000 to develop.
The app will feature advertisements from bail-bond agents, attorneys and others that will net the Sheriff's Office a small profit, Glanz said. However, most of the money from the advertisements will go to Appriss, Glanz said.
The app, which went live in November, gives users searchable access to Tulsa Jail records, including mug shots, and on what criminal complaints or charges inmates were arrested. It also gives other vital information about inmates.
The app's designers are still working out some kinks between the Sheriff's Office's jail roster software and the app, which has caused issues with access to mug shots and the criminal complaints on the Sheriff's Office's website. Officials said those issues should be worked out soon.
Users may sign up on the app for the VINE notifications that alert a person whenever there is a change in status for a person in the jail - if the person is released, for example.
People can also access the sex-offender registry, warrants, information on the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office, and alerts.
Tulsa County Sheriff's Office Operations Chief Richard Weigel said the alerts will have a variety of uses, citing the recent shooting at a Connecticut elementary school and wildfires in western Tulsa County last summer.
"We can give a push notification on your phone before we knock on your door (for an evacuation) so you're packed and ready to go," Weigel said.
The alert service will be shared with the 13 other law enforcement agencies in Tulsa County. For example, if Bixby police are looking for a missing child, vital information can be sent to everyone who has the app.
"It's much better to have the eyes of 607,000 (Tulsa County residents) than the eyes of 1,500 law enforcement (officers) only," Weigel said.
The app is now available free to smartphone users by searching "OKTulsaSO" in the Apple App Store or on Google Play.
Original Print Headline: Sheriff's Office fetes smartphone app
Jerry Wofford 918-581-8310
Above, Operations Chief Rick Weigel explains the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office's new smartphone application during a news conference Monday. Users will be able to access the Tulsa Jail roster and the sex-offender registry and receive notifications from the app. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World
Sheriff's Office employees Christina Morrison (from left), Meredith Baker and Monica Remington follow along on their smartphones as speakers tell about the Sheriff's Office's new smartphone application. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World