Apps are worst way to contact police, instead call or text

Srdjan Marjanovic

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In light of new emergency apps, such as the ULM safe app and Ouachita Parish Sheriff Office’s app, the question of whether or not this is the best means of communication has emerged. There are many different factors to consider when weighing out the three methods of contacting the police: through call, text or app. But in terms of the most convenient way to contact the police, apps are not the best method.
In high-risk situations, phone calls are the quickest and most accessible. According to Federal Communication Commission, when you make a voice call to 911, the call taker will typically receive your phone number and the approximate location of your phone automatically. For example, if someone were running away from a dangerous person, calling 911 would be the best option because they have his or her location.
If calling 911 is not an option for someone he or she could instead text. According to FCC, texting during an emergency could be helpful if you are deaf, hard of hearing, have a speech disability or if a voice call to 911 might otherwise be dangerous or impossible. For instance, if someone were in a room with someone who is starting to get out of control, texting 911 would be optimal.
With these two options available, there truly leaves no room for app usage. Apps do, granted, also provide your location services like calling and allow for you to covertly contact the police same as texting. But this is only if the user has went to his or her settings and allowed for location services to be activated prior to a dangerous situation. If not already done so, the user would have to go to settings while running, turn location services on and then enter the app once more.
Add the settings fiasco time to the average time it takes for an app to load up and you have wasted a lot of time. Hopefully, that hypothetical dangerous situation is not escalating quickly or you would be out of luck.
Are apps great to use when making complaints or giving anonymous tips? Sure! But if there’s any sense of urgency in your complaint or tip, using an app would not be the best option either.
Regardless, if you’re in a situation of clear or potential danger, contact the police. The option you choose to contact the police should be based on the most convenient and— most of all—safest option for you in that moment.