Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

December 8, 2012

APD launches mobile app

Carrie Stambaugh
The Independent

ASHLAND — Need to report a crime tip to the Ashland Police Department? Get access to a copy of a vehicle collision report?

There’s now an app for that.

This week, the Ashland Police Department announced its newest tool for communicating with the public it serves — an application for smart phones.

The APD app, available for both Apple and Android devices, is free and can be found by searching Ashland Police Department.

Sgt. Ryan Conley designed the application, which will cost the city about $300 a year to operate, he said.

“We’re really proud of it,” said Conley, noting the city is the first in Kentucky and first in the Tri-State to have its own app.

The app connects users directly to the APD’s Facebook page, its Twitter account, and provides several different ways to instantly communicate with the department via phone, email and by photo. The app can provide instant directions to the police station, along with linking users to other city departments and services.

 It also has a secure portion that was created just to serve the department’s police officers. Officers can use it to check their schedule, look at arrest warrants and laws, “everything they need to do their job,” said APD Chief Rob Ratliff.

Ratliff described the app as “one-stop shopping,” for the APD. “We can post something on there and it automatically goes to the web page, it goes to Facebook, it goes to Twitter and we don’t spend time going to each one of those,” he said.

He noted the public is trending toward using technology and social media to communicate, and the department expects to increase the number of users it reaches over time due in part to that trend.

Conley said the department’s Facebook page has the ability to reach in excess of 150,000 users, counting the departments “friends” and “friends of friends.” More than 1,000 individuals interacted with a recent Facebook post regarding a missing person, but more than 14,000 Facebook users were reached by it.

By contrast, the  APD’s website reaches about 1,500 monthly and its Twitter account has just 24 followers.

Ratliff said the new app is the latest edition to the department’s technology boom, referring to its new building and all the new equipment it was able to attain as a result.

“This is just continuing to build on what we were given a couple of years ago,” he said.

He praised Conley and his ability and passion to ensure the department has the technology at its fingertips.

“It’s good to have someone in house that we can rely on to develop those things,” he said.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.