HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The Madison County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) is joining the neighborhood. A virtual neighborhood, anyway.
The Sheriff’s Office announced it now has a profile on the Neighbors by Ring app.
“In the past, we had neighborhood watch, this is a little bit more, this is just an extra tool that we carry on our belt to take care of our citizens,” said MCSO spokesperson, Brent Patterson.
The Neighbors app allows people to share videos from their Ring cameras, as well as report crime, safety, community, and other alerts.
Since joining, the Sheriff’s Office has already started posting in the feed. It has posted about Labor Day safety, door locking safety, and other community-related public service announcements.
The sheriff’s office said home security cameras have been a great asset in crime solving. It hopes to be on a platform where it can access what is posted publicly, which is good for everyone.
“You’ve got citizens in the neighborhood who have the ability to record and capture events and crimes that occur in the community,” Patterson said. “They can share it with us, and we can pass that along and hopefully bring an end to someone’s nightmare.”
The sheriff’s office also wants to dispel any rumors regarding privacy.
“We don’t want people to think ‘oh they’re trying to spy, they’re trying to take what we have, no, that’s not the way it works,” Patterson said. “We can’t tap into anything, the only way we’re able to us any information that that person or family has if it has been given to us.”
Again, the sheriff’s office can only see what’s posted in the Neighbors feed. It cannot remotely access your Ring cameras.
The Ring policy regarding law enforcement says: “Ring does not disclose user information in response to government demands (i.e., legally valid and binding requests for information from law enforcement agencies such as search warrants, subpoenas and court orders) unless we’re required to comply and it is properly served on us.”
The policy also states law enforcement can only request remote access to cameras in emergencies involving “imminent danger of death or serious physical injury.”
News 19 asked people in the community how they feel about the sheriff’s office joining the platform.
Sandi Billings said she uses the Neighbors App and has Ring cameras, said, “I think it’s a great idea. I think the police need all the help they can get.”
Reporting crime and sharing videos with the Sheriff’s Office should only be done in a non-emergency situation. In an emergency, call 911.
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