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OPP launches use of app

The Ontario Provincial Police has partnered with an app.

“What3words” describes itself as “an easy way to identify precise locations”. “Every 10-foot square has been given a unique combination of three words (a what3words address). You can find, share and navigate to precise locations using three simple words,” it writes in its app description.

The OPP says that it will now be using the app in its Provincial Communication Centres (PCCs).

“In an emergency situation, if a caller contacts an OPP PCC and doesn’t know where they are, the app will help call-takers pinpoint the caller’s location so that OPP officers can quickly respond and more accurately know where to find the person(s) in need,” they said in a release.

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Police say that it will also benefit frontline OPP officers leading them to the precise location of the person in need.

“When a member of the public contacts an OPP PCC, the call-taker will ask them if they are familiar with the app and if they have it downloaded onto their device,” said Provincial Media Relations Coordinator A/S/Sgt. Kerry Schmidt. “If they don’t have the app already downloaded on their phone, the call-taker can send callers a link that will automatically show them their three-word location tag. This process requires minimal cellular and data signals for the caller’s phone to first receive the link and then for them to open and load their location tag from it. If a caller already has the app downloaded on their device, it works without internet or data, so they can still provide the PCC with their location code even in locations without a cellular signal.”

“It’s a handy tool for sure,” said Cst. Michelle Coulombe. “In our area, some locals have their own location that they identify and they’re known to them but not necessarily officers. This allows hunters in the bush, folks hiking in provincial parks in the summertime, snowmobiling in the trails or even boating out on the water to have the ability to let officers know exactly where they are.”

Police say that the use of technology can offer many benefits and the OPP is proud to incorporate progressive tools such as this one to assist with its goal of a safer Ontario for everyone. The OPP is encouraging members of the public to download the free app in case of an emergency.

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