BY D’ARCY EGAN
Communication is the key to reaching out to folks all around Ottawa County, said Sheriff Steve Levorchick. With help from the latest computer app, and an IT expert on staff who knows how to program it, the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department is entering a new era of staying in touch with constituants.
“This new app is something we’ve really been looking forward to making available to everyone in Ottawa County,” said Levorchick. “With smart phones so prevalent, the free app is a wonderful way for us to stay in touch.”
A major feature, said Levorchick, will be the ability of the county agency to “push” notifications. If there is an emergency on the highway — from road-closing accidents to snow emergencies, flooding and detours — or missing person reports, the app will send out information to everyone who signs up for the free service.
The app is available from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Search “Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, said Griffin, a graduate of Port Clinton High School and Tiffin University who recently joined Levorchick’s staff.
“This is a very user-friendly app, and we have the in-house ability to tweak it to adjust to various situations,” said Griffin. “Ottawa is the third Ohio county to offer this type of app.”
While the app is free to download, it cost $10,500 to install, said Levorchick, and has an annual fee of $5,000.
“That’s a small price to pay to be able to keep in close communication with everyone,” he said. It will also require someone to input information to be disseminated, such as anonymous tips that can include photos and GPS coordinates, or news releases.
The range of services offered by the new app is impressive. It will team with Project Lifesaver, a department service in place to protect people with mental and cognitive disabilities who wander away from home. The app will notify everyone with such details as the person’s name, photo and general informations.
Levorchick said keeping in touch with constituents is important, and the app will also send out information on background checks, suicide prevention, concealed carry permits and information on how to reach the various departments of the county agency.
Deputy Jeffrey Griffin, an IT expert, and Sheriff Steve Levorchik show off a cellular phone that has the department’s free new app installed. The app is designed to keep the general public in touch with the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department. (Photo by D’Arcy Egan)