Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office launches phone app to fight crime

The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office is hoping a phone app might help solve some crimes.

The app has been under development for about a year and a half and was formally launched Friday.

One of the reasons the app is being pushed now is that the anniversary of Ariel Morgan’s death is coming up, county spokesman Michael Mule said. About 800 young people attended the party near Moncks Corner where the 19-year-old bystander was killed June 7 when gunfire broke out, but nobody has identified a shooter. The hope is that the phone app might prompt some tips since that’s the medium young people are comfortable with.

County Council plans to pass a resolution reminding people of Morgan’s death at the May 26 meeting, Mule said.

The app allows anonymous tips to be submitted, including cellphone photos of suspicious activity. The menu also includes the sex-offender registry, crime alerts and maps, a wanted list and a tab to commend an officer for a job well done.

Acting Berkeley County Sheriff Butch Henerey praised the app in a statement.

“I have been in law enforcement for 35 years,” he said. “I can assure you that when I started, I never imagined such a tool to help fight crime.”

The app is paid for with seized drug money; $1,190 to set up and $890 a year to operate, Mule said.

Maj. Melissa Blanchard gathered the data to help create it.

“Along with our Facebook page and Twitter feed, this new app allows us to better protect and serve, while also improving the ability of the public to help fight crime,” she said in a statement. “Moreover, we are able to provide this service at no cost to the taxpayers.”

The app can be downloaded from the Apple store or Google Play.

A screen grab of the app on the download site shows Wayne Dewitt as sheriff, but the current version lists Henerey as sheriff. The home screen will be updated again after a new sheriff is elected in June.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.