Davenport Police Say "There's an App For That"
July 16, 2013
Davenport police have a new way to receive tips. Yesterday, the department unveiled an application for iPads, iPhones, and other mobile devices called "Do What's Right." The free app allows users to submit anonymous tips by text or online.
Police Chief Frank Donchez says this isn't meant to replace 911, but is another option for people who aren't comfortable calling the number. "People, I think, are afraid of being tracked or identified, and then maybe retribution. So it's just another avenue to do that. Have we had a problem? Yeah. I don't think we get nearly the cooperation that we would like when we investigate crimes. And so if somebody knows something, and they can submit a tip that would help us solve a crime, better off," he says.
The tips are submitted without a phone number, and can even include a picture. Officers will monitor them around the clock, and assess which tips are most pressing.
Donchez says this could prevent tragedies like what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut from occurring in Davenport. That's because in over 80 percent of similar situations, someone knew something was wrong before-hand. And over 90 percent of the time, the killer had mental health issues. He thinks the new app can address this.
"It's not just about stopping potential violence or arresting people, it's also about getting them the help they need. And so that's part of what we're trying to do here, is get that intervention when we identify someone with a potential problem and maybe avoid, hopefully avoid, a terrible situation. But we also want to get that person assistance," Donchez says.
Similar mobile applications have been used successfully in San Jose, California, and Georgetown, Texas.
The "Do What's Right" app also lets users look up crime reports, and see on a map where crimes occurred. And Davenport police will use it to send traffic updates, suspect information, and other notifications. The app can be downloaded for free from the Apple Store, Google Play, or the Davenport Police Department's web site.