Waze traffic app poses concerns for law enforcement

WICHITA, Kansas – – The mobile app, Waze, has gained popularity over the past couple of years.

The app is a GPS navigational tool that allows users to tag locations of accidents, traffic congestion and the locations of parked police vehicles.

Max Runyon, a Junior at Wichita State University, says the app can be useful for many college students.

“There has been issues arise at Wichita State recently and it would be nice to know where a police officer is,” said Runyon.

This image taken from the the Waze app on an iPhone, in Washington, shows police at the scene on a map on the app. Sheriffs are campaigning to pressure Google Inc. to turn off a feature on its Waze traffic software that warns drivers when police are nearby. Authorities say one of the technology industry's most popular mobile apps could put officers' lives in danger from would-be cop-killers who can find where their targets are parked. (AP Photo/Ted Bridis)
This image taken from the the Waze app on an iPhone, in Washington, shows police at the scene on a map on the app.  (AP Photo/Ted Bridis)

It has been met with outrage by some law enforcement agencies, some going as far as asking providers to remove the app entirely.

While the app has received praise from users, law enforcement agencies across the country, including here in Wichita say the app is a hindrance.

Some agencies have said it impedes their ability to write speeding tickets.

Lt. Lin Dehning with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office says the app could put officers in harms way.

“When an officer is sitting somewhere stationery, there have been some instances where in years past someone tried to do harm to an law enforcement officer,” said Dehning.

Dehning says the sheriff’s office deputies are trained to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings.

However, Dehning adds tools like Waze are posing a concern.

“It is a concern, I’ll say we’re concerned about it and we will again talk to our deputies about it and tell them to be aware of this,” said Dehning.

Despite the concerns of law enforcement, users like Runyon still believe the benefits outweighs the negative.

“I could see a lot of benefits to the app, mostly for people who aren’t use to being out late at night, it’s really nice to know where a police presence is,” said Runyon.

After being acquired by Google in 2013, it was estimated that the Waze app had around 50 million users.

Comments are closed.