New Google Maps feature enables drivers to share police locations

Law enforcement agencies have spoken out against the feature in similar apps

PoliceOne Staff 

NEW YORK — Google announced Thursday that people using its popular Maps navigation app can now report and track the location of police through the app. 

Law enforcement has previously spoken against a similar feature in other GPS navigation apps like Waze, which is owned by Google, Business Insider reports. In February, the NYPD, LAPD and National Sheriffs Association all sent statements to Google asking the company to remove Waze’s feature that lets users report police sightings, saying that it hindered law enforcement efforts. 

NYPD spokeswoman Sgt. Mary Frances O’Donnell told ABC News Monday that the NYPD has also engaged Google about this feature on the Google Maps app. 

"The Department has engaged in productive discussions with Google to make information available to drivers that will make roads safer and encourage responsible driving, while not impeding the enforcement of New York State Vehicle and Traffic laws," she wrote in a statement to ABC News. 

The feature on both Waze and Google Maps does not let users distinguish between different kinds of police activity, according to Business Insider. The only incident label available in the Google Maps update is “speed trap.”  

A Google spokesperson told Business Insider that the company thinks the update helps keep roads safe because “informing drivers about upcoming speed traps allows them to be more careful and make safer decisions when they're on the road.” 

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