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Tippecanoe Co. to put crime info at public's fingertips

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Crime activity and information on people taken to jail or being released will soon be available to the public through a new app being developed for the Tippecanoe County sheriff's office.

The free app will offer names, ages and addresses for suspects, along with the charges they face and their booking mug shots. It also will give residents real-time information about suspects or law enforcement activities, Sheriff Tracy Brown told the Lafayette Journal & Courier.

A second app being developed would alert the public when a suspect is released from jail, prison or transferred to another detention facility.

Purdue professor David Ebert said the move to online police reports reflects a change that has evolved from today's data-driven culture.

"What people consider current and useful information, they're not willing to tolerate delays," said Ebert, who has developed analytical apps for public safety.

"Having text ability to have that information in real time is valuable to people who are concerned about their safety," he said.

Brown said Appriss, a Louisville, Ky., company, is behind the free apps, which should be available at the Apple and Droid download sites in October. It could take a few more weeks before the jail book-in app and the notification app are available.

Those using the apps will receive either an automated call to their home or cellphone or a text alert when a person is released from custody, Brown said.

"There is such hunger for people to have that instant information. They're going to be better connected to what's going on. They feel this need to know," Brown said.

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