Traffic app that tracks police whereabouts raises concerns

Traffic app that tracks police whereabouts raises concerns

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Waze is an increasingly popular app that tracks traffic, road hazards, construction zones, and the whereabouts of police officers.

"I think the construction zones would be useful, but as for the cops, I feel like that's not legal at all," said Memphis driver Michael Gibson.

Experts say the app is perfectly legal and utilizes user data, including GPS locations, to pinpoint officer locations and supposed "speed traps."

"I'm pretty sure they have quotas to meet and tickets to write, so I don't think they like that at all," said driver Kelvin Givens. "Especially reported speed traps."

Following attacks against police, some officers are more concerned with personal safety. One Virginia sheriff called the app a "police stalker."

WMC Action News 5 put the app to the test by finding a police icon at Madison Avenue and Dunlap Street. However, there was no officer at the location once we arrived. We got the same result at two other locations.

Some believe the app may be most helpful when it comes to slow-downs caused by construction or other road work.

"I don't think people should be on their phones while driving," added Gibson.

Waze issued the following statement regarding concerns:

"We think very deeply about safety and security and work in partnership with the NYPD and other Police and Departments of Transportation all over the world, sharing information on road incidents and closures to help municipalities better understand what's happening in their cities in real time. These relationships keep citizens safe, promote faster emergency response and help alleviate traffic congestion. Police partners support Waze and its features, including reports of police presence, because most users tend to drive more carefully when they believe law enforcement is nearby."

-Julie Mossler, Head of Global Communications at Waze.

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