Police want a feature of the mobile App, Waze, disabled

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Screenshot by Ocala Post

In light of the recent ambush attacks on law enforcement, the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) is concerned that those who have grievances with law enforcement could use the App known as ‘Waze’ to plan or carry out an attack.

The Waze App is a way drivers can get alerted before they approach police, accidents, road hazards, traffic jams, or detours and the information is all shared by other drivers in real-time. It’s like a personal heads-up from a few million drivers on the road. It’s a real-time GPS on steroids, and most say it is more accurate than a Garmin.

Sheriffs are concerned with the ability of Google’s App, Waze, to locate law enforcement by using the crowd sourcing feature to report an officer’s location.

“While officer safety is paramount and our major concern, we are also concerned this app will have a negative effect on saving lives and with public safety activities,” said John Thompson, NSA Deputy Executive Director. The ability for individual or organized crime to track law enforcement puts every community they protect at risk! If the bad guy knows where law enforcement is all the time, it makes it much easier for them to carry out their illegal activities.

Officials said, “Highway deaths claim more than 30,000 lives each year. The use of radar and other speed reducing activities have helped make a substantial reduction in these numbers. This app will hamper those activities by locating law enforcement officers and puts the public at risk.”

The NSA leadership has requested a meeting with Google to see what can be done to disable this feature in the App. Sheriff Michael J. Brown, Bedford County, Virginia remarked, “The police community needs to coordinate an effort to have the owner, Google, act like the responsible corporate citizen they have always been and remove this feature from the application even before any litigation or statutory action.” NSA hopes to sit down with Google soon to discuss the concern we have with the App.

Drivers who use the App say law enforcement officials are paranoid. Also, most drivers that utilize the App say they tend to driver safer while using Waze.

Many have turned to social media, accusing law enforcement of being angry because of their drop in revenue that is derived from speeding tickets, which the App helps drivers avoid.

Developers said that law enforcement officials do not have any data that supports their theory.

In a statement, Google said they do not have any plans, at this time, to disable the feature.

Other mobile App developers have stated that if Google does disable the feature, there are many others that could take its place.

Google estimates that Waze is currently used by more than 50 million drivers, including other police officers.

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