By Neal Simon, The Spectator


BATH — Sheriff James L. Allard calls the new Sheriff’s Office app a “one-stop shop” for all things related to the Steuben County law enforcement agency.


The Sheriff’s Office made a formal announcement on Monday, introducing the free smartphone application and describing several of its capabilities and handy features.


It didn’t take long for the app to pay off; it happened before much of the public even found out it was available. But as the Sheriff’s Office says on its website, “Public safety is everyone’s business.”


“Last Friday, we put out a ‘Most Wanted Person’ (notification), with a picture,” Allard said. “We put it out on the Sheriff’s app and Facebook. In ten minutes, we had a call of where that person was. We were able to locate him, and bring him in on the warrant that he was wanted on.


“That is some real world, practical application of how much more efficient it can help us be.”


Developed by TheSheriffApp.com, a division of OCV, LLC., the app serves as a new way for the Sheriff’s Office to connect with Steuben County residents and visitors, providing information quickly and efficiently to anyone with a smartphone, Allard said.


The Steuben County Sheriff’s Office app is available for download for free in the App Store and Google Play. Search “Steuben Sheriff NY” to download the app.


The app offers quick access to items of public interest and is easy to use. In just a few clicks, users can:


- Submit a tip to the office.


- Search for local inmates.


- Receive push notifications (victims can receive notifications of status changes through the app).


- View the most wanted criminals in Steuben County


- Connect to the organization’s social media platforms.


- Read the latest news and find out about upcoming events.


- Research sex offenders in the area.


There is also a tab for the Sheriff’s Office Civil Division.


Allard said the app provides a convenient method for the Sheriff’s Office to connect with the public, especially residents who may not spend much time on news sites or social media.


“It is kind of a one-shop stop for us, for the folks who have the app,” Allard said. “It allows us to push information to those people who don’t follow Facebook or other social media platforms, or even the news media.


“The app allows you to check sex offenders in your area right from your phone. It allows you to keep up on all the news coming out of the Sheriff’s Office from your phone and it also allows you the ability to see what is going on within the office, as far as warrants, most wanted, and also who is currently in jail.”


The app will also help coordinate inmate commissary accounts and visitor scheduling for the jail.


Allard said, “The other thing it does is allow people to remotely put money into the commissary accounts for their family members who are incarcerated without having to come to the jail to do it.”


The app’s notification feature is designed to enhance public safety.


“There is a push notification which sends out a notification banner and an alarm to your phone, that says whatever it is — ‘This road is closed due to flooding,’ ‘This road is closed due to an incident,’ or ‘We’re searching for this person in a five-mile radius,’” Allard said.


TheSheriffApp.com specializes in smartphone app development for sheriffs’ offices and public safety organizations across the country. Developing more than 500 apps, OCV designs and creates custom apps for state, county and local government agencies.


“Over 80 percent of people in the United States own and use smartphones as their primary means of communication,” OCV Vice President Kevin Cummings said. “Mobile apps offer agencies a better way to alert, inform and prepare the public. Apps allow public safety agencies the ability to reach and serve their citizens where they are: their smartphones.”