Marion County sheriffs want app that alerts residents to sex offenders, allows crime reporting

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MARION COUNTY, Fla. —

Imagine getting alerts about sex offenders in your neighborhood or being able to report a crime just by picking up your smartphone.

Channel 9's Mark Joyella looks at how the Marion County Sheriff's Office wants to use that technology to protect the community.

The department is using nearly $4,000 in seized drug money to buy a mobile app that will allow users to check their neighborhood for sex offenders, see photos of the offenders and get details on the offenders' crimes.

With the app, users can get information from the sheriff's office, see tweets and even report crime. If you see something, you can take a photo or video and send it right to detectives without ever using your name, no questions asked, deputies said.

"If you went to the mall and saw someone who was walking around checking car doors, trying to break into them and you shot some video on your iPhone and upload that video to us and (we) maybe identify that person and make an arrest," said Capt. James Pogue. "It's a great tool."

The app is in development now and will roll out in the next few months.

Across town, the Ocala Police Department unveiled their own app called MyPD.