Roughly 50 million users turn on the Waze mapping app to help them get through heavy traffic in cities across the country. But one part of the app that user point out on maps has police officers crying foul.
“It puts us at risk, puts the public at risk, because it’s going to cause more deadly force encounters between law enforcement and suspects,” Sgt. Javier Ortiz, president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police.
Sgt. Ortiz is taking issue with the app because it allows users to identify where police officers are on the road. It’s a 21st century method of drivers flashing their lights at each other to identify a speed trap.
But police in Miami had a novel way of fighting back against Waze, which is owned by Google. According to the FOP, hundreds of officers have been instructed to download the app to try and steer the data in the wrong direction.
NBC 6’s Jamie Guirola put the app to the test Thursday night and it yielded the exact location of an officer when NBC 6’s cameras passed by the location identified on the map.
Waze’s developers told NBC 6 that, “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.”
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said he doesn’t buy the claims that the app threatens the safety of his officers.
“If someone is suffering mental illness and they want to commit a heinous crime or hunt a deputy or a police officer; they don’t need Waze to do that,” Sheriff Israel said.