Improved mobile phone cameras and the ability to live stream anything from a phone has proved threatening to police who don't like to be filmed, but an app used by the University of Maryland police department could be the future of 9-1-1.
The University of Maryland police department is testing an app that will allow police to monitor live video of an emergency situation and will allow a mobile user to beam video to the police station in a time of need.
The app can also be used as a way to escort students from a library or a late night party to their dorm rooms.
Called M-ergency, the app rolled out in beta earlier this month and is being tested by 100 students. When the app is ready to go live, it will be offered to all students at the university.
All it takes is the push of a button on an Android phone. As soon as it is activated, live video streams right into a police station and operators, as well as police officers, can see what is happening instantaneously. The department plans on releasing an app for iPhones soon.
This should placate worried parents, who might fret over their sons or daughters being out late at night. Large college campuses with independent police forces could rely on this app in less-than-ideal sections of campus, or, on city campuses, anywhere in the city that their students travel.
This is a move quite different from recent citizen recordings of police action that have caused aggravation in certain legal circles. Illinois recently banned citizens from using recording devices during arrests.
In July, Rochester Police arrested a woman on her front lawn. Her crime? She was filming them during a traffic stop.