Henry Sheriff’s Office launches new app

By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

Henry County Sheriff Keith McBrayer is hopeful that a new technological advancements will help his agency to meet the needs of local residents more effectively.

“We just thought it would be a smart thing to do,” said McBrayer. “We just thought it would be a win-win and wanted to see if it would help the citizens out here.”

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The Henry County Sheriff’s Office recently began using a free mobile app for smart phones, which is intended to deliver real-time updates about crime or community events. The app available at on-line stores for I-phone and Android products.

The app provides most of the common topics available through the Sheriff’s Office website. McBrayer noted that it also includes features that are unavailable there, such as a new alert function.

To illustrate what the app can do, the Sheriff explained the difference between a “soft lockdown” and a “hard lockdown.” He said if an unlawful act occurs near a school, a “soft lockdown” is initiated when the situation does not directly involve the school. A hard lockdown is implemented when there is an immediate need for law enforcement at a school.

“We have all the school resource officers, and we have 52 schools in our county,” McBrayer said. “Say that there is a crime near a school – maybe a subdivision where there is a burglary, theft or suspicious person. We would have a soft lockdown at that school just until it was resolved. We would get phone calls from parents who were concerned. This way, if there is a soft lockdown or hard lockdown, we could notify the parents that we had that lockdown in place, and when we lifted that lockdown, we could make sure the parents knew their child was safe and that everything was OK.”

Other real-time features available through the app include the contact information for School Resource Officers and the Sheriff’s Command Staff, a Confidential Tips Hot Line, Most Wanted information, Inmate search, sex offender information, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and a “Where Am I” button to help users identify their current location.

The app also includes links to the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page and website.

McBrayer said his agency began researching the possibility, last year, of using the app, and that it has yielded positive results in other Georgia counties.

“We just thought it would be worth a try, to see if people can get some use out of it,” he said.

The app is available to download for free at Google Play for Androids and The Apple App Store for I-phones. For more information, call the Sheriff’s Office at 770-288-7100.