Clay County launches SaferWatch app for school staff and community members

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — A new smartphone app is connecting the Clay County community with local law enforcement in real-time.

Whether it’s an active situation or a tip after the fact, citizens can now submit information from the tips of their fingers.

Launching Monday, Clay County citizens can now report a crime in real-time on the SaferWatch App.

Right from your smartphone, you are connected to local law enforcement in seconds.

The SaferWatch app is a free tool anyone can download.

“SaferWatch provides real-time two-way communication during an emergency and non-emergency situations,” Clay County Sheriff’s Office Sheriff Michelle Cook said.

Users can report crime as it’s happening by sending in live information, photos, and even video.

“We can send a link to your phone and go live with you while you’re in the middle of or near that incident,” Sheriff Cook said.

The app is not only an important tool in the streets but also in the classroom.

“In the case of an immediate emergency, staff will have the ability to hit the mobile panic button,” Clay County Schools Superintendent Dave Broskie said.

The app connects users with dispatchers in the Clay County Sheriff’s Office real-time crime center.

Information sent in is vetted through here and then forwarded to officers and deputies.

Information can be directly pinpointed to a specific location. You can submit information anonymously as well.

On school campuses, the app uses geofencing tech.

“Should the panic alarm, panic button be activated, it actually geolocates you exactly on the campus where you’re at,” Clay County Schools Police Chief Kenneth Wagner said.

SaferWatch doesn’t cost the school district but there is an annual fee of $40,000 to the sheriff’s office. Green Cove Springs Police Department contributes $5,000 to that fee.

Officials said the app isn’t replacing 911 rather it acts as a safety enhancement tool.