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Lompoc police say mobile app shouldn't replace 911 in emergency situations

Posted at 8:41 AM, Sep 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-24 11:44:24-04

With more and more people becoming aware of the Lompoc Police Department’s mobile app, the department wants to remind people that the app is not meant to replace 911.

The app gives residents several features with the touch of a button. Users can send tips, report graffiti, get City Council and county services updates, and also directions to the police department.

But Lompoc Police Sergeant Scott Morgan says for emergencies and serious situations, people need to call 911.

“The application is designed for your smaller problems, like maybe neighborhood car issues or other issues in your neighborhoods where you might want us to come out, but we can't come out immediately to some tips that we get,” Morgan said.

Morgan says in the case ofgunshots that were caught on video by a resident early Monday morning and said to be reported through the app, police dispatch is not going to be able to see the tip right away, creating a slower response time from police and fire.

By Monday afternoon, Morgan said he was unaware the gunshots had even been reported.

Lompoc resident Hugh Molina says he's been a victim of theft and has had to report neighborhood parties and says he calls 911 instead of using the app every time.

“You place a call and they're going to answer it right away. The app, you don't know how that's going to go through," Molina says, adding that he believes crime has been on the rise in Lompoc.

“The community is being impacted here, a lot with crime, vandalism, a big homeless epidemic going on here as well, that contributes to crimes here especially," Molina says.

Morgan says the app is a good tool for the Lompoc Police Department and is a form of two-way communication between police and residents, but best used for non-emergency situations.