Traffic app tracks police activity

SANTA FE (KRQE) – Nearly 50 million people are using the app Waze, a new GPS type navigation tool used to share real-time traffic information. The app helps drivers avoid traffic backups, but it is also helping them avoid police and authorities are not happy about it.

This week, the National Sheriff’s Association launched a campaign against Waze saying it puts cops and the public at risk. The association claims the app, which lets drivers tag police vehicles when they see them, interferes with speed traps and DWI checkpoints.

KRQE News 13 took those concerns to local police.

“By them knowing there is a road block or a speed trap, we see people slow down,” said Santa Fe Lt. Andrea Dobyns.

Santa Fe police think if drivers are warned of police activity nearby, they’re more likely to follow the law.

“If they’re going to slow down because they read this on Facebook or on a Waze app even better for us. They are helping us do our job,” said Dobyns.

However, not all New Mexico drivers think Waze is so wise.

“People are going to be dodging them, go to the other street just to stay away from the cops,” said Yadira Ramirez.

That’s one of the reasons why the Los Angeles Police Chief wants the feature banned. He’s asking Google to disable it, claiming it helps criminals avoid authorities.

KRQE News 13 reached out to other agencies in New Mexico. Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office and State Police say so far they haven’t had any problems with the app.

The Los Angeles police chief claims the man who recently killed two New York police officers used Waze at some point before the shooting to track officers.

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