Police now have a way to warn the public in real time when an active high-speed police chase is nearby.
Itís thanks to a new free app called PursuitAlert that citizens can download on their smartphones.
Hereís how it works. If a participating agency has an active police pursuit or emergency response within two miles of the users, they will receive a push notification and audible alert on their phone.
The new app recently launched in South Carolina. Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw heads up the first law enforcement agency in the nation to use the PursuitAlert technology.
"We are happy to announce that we have a way to warn our citizens when someone refuses to stop for a deputy. While we can control the type of pursuits our deputies engage in through policy, we cannot control the individual that refuses to stop for lights and sirens. I am confident that PursuitAlert can save lives," said Crenshaw.
PursuitAlert says that Department of Justice estimates there are approximately 68,000 police chases annually in the US. On average there is one death a day with three times as many seriously injured. The financial burden on society is in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
The company says warning systems save lives during weather events like tornadoes and hurricanes and it hopes its technology does the same for police chase situations that can be even more dangerous.
"Warning systems are in place and have been very effective for tornadoes, floods, hurricanes and lighting, yet more people are killed each year from police pursuits than all four of these events combined,Ē said Tim Morgan, President of PursuitAlert. ďOur goal is to enhance officer and civilian safety through a heightened sense of awareness for motorist when approaching intersections, even though they may have right of way."
Citizens are also alerted when the pursuit is out of range.