City of Hampton, Peninsula law enforcement announce new crime-fighting technology

HAMPTON, Va. - The City of Hampton, the Hampton Police Division, Newport News Sheriff’s Office, York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office and Hampton University held a joint conference Monday morning at Hampton University.

They announced the adoption of new advanced crime-fighting, community communications, and student safety and information technologies to be utilized on the Peninsula.

"People don't like to make phone calls anymore. People don't like to write emails. They want to do it right from their mobile device," said CEO of Shielf Group Technologies, Roger Coch.

Hampton, Newport News and York County officials each have a mobile application to report crime or issues right away. The new mobile apps took months of planning and a $75,000 grant from the Wason Fund for Public Safety that's part of the Williamsburg Community Foundation.

"We in turn made grants to each of the law enforcement and the college to enable that to purchase the software for free," said the Williamsburg Community Foundation's Executive Director, Nancy Sullivan.

There are five apps total.

The "Connect Protect" app allows people to report crime, view mugshots and see other information from the York County Sheriff's Department, the Hampton Police Division and the Newport News Sheriff's Department.

There's also an app called "Student Protect" for Hampton of University students, and another application for people to submit issues to the City of Hampton.

"Say if there was a pot hole or if there was street lights out they can now go on their mobile device and simply take a photo of it send it in they can send it an anonymously or put their name in," Couch said.

Requests sent through the mobile applications are also GPS tagged.

They even provide open communication between officials and the community.

"For instance, I mentioned parking is an issue sometimes. If I know that on a given day this lot is not going to be available we can push that out to the students that have the app," said Hampton University Police Chief, David Glover.

Officials across the peninsula hope these news mobile apps can bring transparency and trust between them and the community, and that other cities will adopt them too.