CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Need updates on an Amber Alert in your area or contact information for the nearest State Police detachment?
There's an app for that.
Troopers recently unveiled the West Virginia State Police app, which offers the public and officers another way to communicate, in the Apple App Store for iPhone users and in the Google Play store for Android users.
"Col. Jay Smithers saw the app as an opportunity to improve or enhance our communication with the citizens of West Virginia and the public," Sgt. Michael Baylous said of the State Police superintendent. "He wanted to do this."
They had been talking about the app -- what they wanted it to include and the best way to build it -- for the "bigger part of the year," Baylous said.
He said the agency looked at multiple options before deciding on the smart phone app. Baylous said if the app were well-received, they would build upon that success, but that it would never become the primary means of contacting troopers in case of an emergency. He said citizens still should call 911 or their local detachment directly in the case of an urgent situation.
The app will be used for multiple things, Baylous said, including critical incidents where troopers need to reach residents and also to provide alerts and updates on Amber and silver alerts.
"If we have suspect information that we need to get out there real quick, we have a way now of pushing it out to the public directly," Baylous said.