'Speed trap' app feature worries some police agencies - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

'Speed trap' app feature worries some police agencies

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Google Maps is adding features to be more competitive with Waze. (KTEN) Google Maps is adding features to be more competitive with Waze. (KTEN)
Users of the Google Maps app can now report a "speed trap" and share other alerts. (KTEN) Users of the Google Maps app can now report a "speed trap" and share other alerts. (KTEN)
the Waze navigation app pinpoints police activity with an icon. (KTEN) the Waze navigation app pinpoints police activity with an icon. (KTEN)

DENISON, Texas -- Police across the country are concerned about a new feature coming to Google Maps. It lets users of the popular navigation app track the location of law enforcement.

In an effort to compete with popular traffic app Waze (which is owned by Google's parent company), Google Maps is adding new features, including the ability for users to share information about "speed traps." 

The National Sheriff's Association says the feature puts officers at risk by letting criminals know where they are.

"There is no moral, ethical or legal reason to have the police locator button on the app," the NSA said in a written statement. "There is evidence that shows that drunk drivers use the App to avoid law enforcement ... knowing they can drive an alternate route to miss DUI/DWI checkpoints or an officer on duty."

But Denison police spokesman Lt. Mike Eppler said the police locator feature might actually be a good thing.

"If someone is needing an officer and they have this information from social media, then that could be a benefit to having this," he said.

Google Maps Android users have been able to use the speed trap feature for the past year, and it's now available on the iPhone version of the app.

Google defends its decision to add the button by saying safety is a top priority and it will let drivers make safer decisions when they're on the road.

Motorist Paul Bates said there's one sure-fire way not to get a ticket.

"I guess you could just not speed... that's my opinion," he said.

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