By Andrea Bulfinch
Foster's Daily Democrat
MIDDLETON, Mass. — The Massachusetts State Police (MSP) is using new smartphone technology developed by Middleton Police Sgt. Tim Brown.
Though it was rolled out Sunday, the Boston Marathon on April 21 will be the first major event during which officers will use the application.
The technology features a function not used by any other law enforcement agency in the state: push notifications with geo-fencing.
"This will enable us to immediately notify you with real-time alerts that are geographically configured," State Police said in their announcement about using the device.
The geo-fencing push technology will be an imperative part of MSP's public communication strategy for major events, including the 2014 Boston Marathon.
MSP trooper Dustin Fitch said state police are trying to utilize social media to its full extent, posting fresh notices and alerts for residents. He said this eliminates the public having to search for information on their Twitter or Facebook feeds, although MSP do still want people following them.
"I think this is going to push us even more to the forefront," Fitch said. And an added benefit is that users will have immediate access to all of their applications, including blogs.
Fitch said MSP is the most followed state police agency in the country when it comes to social media.
The app will be used for alerts such as traffic advisories, photos of wanted suspects and there's also a function to send tips about illegal activity.
MSP says it's important people understand this application does not violate a user's privacy rights.
"We do not have the ability — nor the desire — to track individual users, and nor will we ever use our app to do so in the future," they said. "The sole purpose of the MSP application is to deliver information related to public safety and the department."
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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