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Screenshot of the new app, featuring quick links to simplify how residents access department information. Kaylee McGhee | Collegian

In order to increase effective communication between law enforcement and the community, the Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Office has released its newest safety feature — its own app.

The app, which includes a weather feature, a link to submit tips, contact information, and immediate push alerts, will give the community instantaneous access to local happenings.

“Society is changing around us,” Sheriff Tim Parker said. “How we communicate is changing as well. The intent of this app is effective communication with the public.”

Parker said the app will make it easier for the HCSO to communicate directly with residents, college students, and even students’ parents.

“The Sheriff’s Office now has the ability to timely, quickly, and efficiently send out information,” Parker said.

The app also allows the public to get into contact with the HCSO. Through the tip submission link, residents can upload pictures and other anonymous information if they come across illegal activities or persons, according to Lt. Todd Moore.

“It’s pretty cool to see how the app has already had a good effect,” Moore, who spearheaded the organization of the app’s content, said. “We’ve already gotten several tips, which is good because it allows us to take care of all people’s concerns.”

The HCSO is the first Sheriff in Michigan to open its own app through TheSheriffApp.com, an experienced team of developers specializing in custom app development for Sheriff’s Offices and other branches of law enforcement.

The development of the new app has been in the works since December, according to Parker, and Moore said it has already drawn attention from outside Hillsdale County.

“A huge agency in Michigan heard about our app and wants to get it,” he said. “They’re even giving a presentation on it.”

Parker said the app is one way the HCSO wants to utilize technology to promote the safety of the public.

“I am so proud to kick it off and make it available to our community,” Parker said. “Our goal is for every student, parent, professor, and resident to download this app.”

The HCSO’s new app is available for download in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.