- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The popular traffic app Waze is being labeled in law enforcement circles as a “police stalker.”

Members of the National Sheriffs Association used a Washington meeting last weekend to link Waze with the December killings of New York Police Department officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. Their killer, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, had Waze screenshots on his Instagram page.

“The police community needs to coordinate an effort to have the owner, Google, act like the responsible corporate citizen they have always been and remove this feature from the application even before any litigation or statutory action,” Virginia Sheriff Mike Brown of Bedford County said, The Associated Press reported Monday.

The technology website Ars Technica reported Tuesday that Waze is used by over 50 million people in 200 countries.

“I can think of 100 ways that it could present an officer-safety issue,” said Jim Pasco, the executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, AP reported. “There’s no control over who uses it. So, if you’re a criminal and you want to rob a bank, hypothetically, you use your Waze.”

In addition to offering users the ability to report speed traps, the free app also features options to report accidents, weather conditions, roadside hazards, traffic jams and gas prices.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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