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Report tips, receive alerts with free app

Dec. 08, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

ASHLAND -- The Ashland Police Department has a free, downloadable application to better communicate with the public and other law enforcement agencies, said Chief Rob Ratliff.

Those with smart phones can download the application, "ashlandpolicedepartment," on iTunes and Google, said Major Todd Kelley of the Ashland Police Department.

"The public can report a tip to us anonymously or a picture," Kelley said Friday. "It's a way to get information out instantaneously."

The department can post items like road closures, structure fires, car wrecks, armed robberies and missing person reports to warn the public, Kelley said.

"We can even post items from the field," he said.

Kelley received information last year about a bank robbery. Within 40 minutes of the robbery, he received information from a bank security camera, posted it and had a suspect identified within two hours. A suspect was arrested later that day, he said.

Sgt. Ryan Conley developed the application that will allow those with a smart phone to receive updates on Facebook and Twitter, Ratliff said.

"It's good for us to let the public know what's going on," Ratliff said. "We wanted to give it a try. It gets information into people's hands quickly. It's easy to use."

"This increases our ability to let the public and other law enforcement agencies know what's going on," Kelley said. "It's a good tool for the police department. As far as we know, we're the first police department in Kentucky or the Tri-State to do this. We hope to be a pace-setter."

When the Boyd County Sheriff's Department was doing a search for a missing person, the Ashland Police Department posted it on its website and the message reached 2,400 people, Kelley said.

"We also put links to Ashland's web page and the city's online bill pay" on the site, Kelley said.

The department started its own web page five years ago to provide information, including news releases, Kelley said. "It's served its purpose," he said. The department's social media efforts also include Facebook and Twitter accounts, he said.

The department's social media outreach with the public has been increasing, he said.



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