NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Want to avoid traffic tickets and traffic jams? There's an app for that. It's called Waze. But the National Sheriff's Association says Waze is dangerous for police safety.
The Google-owned app gives traffic information in real time from drivers like you. From construction nightmares to exactly where police are on the roadways, drivers make the reports. Easy-to-read icons let you know what to expect.
"Maybe it slows down us giving them tickets, but it does help the city and helps the citizens," said Master Patrol Officer Robert Faison.
The National Sheriff's Association and some other police agencies around the country see the icon of officer's locations as a major problem and have asked Google to disable the feature.
"It certainly is good as far as if you're traveling to tell where traffic jams are," said Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson. He has the Waze app on his phone and understands the benefits and the drawbacks.
"It identifies where officers are at that's helpful in the time of need. If you have ill intent it puts the officer in a compromising position," Lawson said.
Ismaaiyl Brinsley, the man identified as the shooter of two police officers in New York in December, is one example of a concern. Investigators say he tossed his cell phone two miles from where he shot officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu and then killed himself. Police say the Instagram account of the gunman included a screen shot from Waze, along with other messages threatening police.
A statement from Waze says: "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."
Waze is quickly becoming one of the hottest navigation tools, with 50 million users worldwide.