Santa Cruz goes mobile in
Santa Cruz Police
Chief Kevin Vogel was
vacationing with his
wife in Italy last fall
when he picked up
his iPad and, for fun,
decided to check in
on his troops back in
Using an app
developed for the
iPhone, Vogel was able to listen to – in real time
— radio calls being fielded by officers on the day
From his hotel room in Rome, Vogel listened to
the squawking sound of Santa Cruz cops being
dispatched to a variety of incidents. Then he turned
off the app and got back to his vacation.
Vogel and his department last year won a prestigious
award for that iPhone app, one of the first such
consumer-focused apps of its kind in the nation.
Last year, The Helen Putnam Award of Excellence
from the League of California Cities cited the Santa
Cruz P.D. for technical innovations — the only
award of its kind in the state bestowed on a law
In April 2012, the same app was expanded to the
Droid system, providing even more public access
to the Santa Cruz P.D.’s scanner feed, online crime
maps, videos, photos and Facebook, Twitter and
“It’s really about community engagement and
transparency,” said Vogel, 49, who spent 25 years at
the Santa Cruz P.D. working his way up to chief — a
post he’s held since December 2010.
Behind The Badge
“People consume information in more ways than
they used to, and it’s important for us to put the
information in a medium they’re using,” Vogel said.
The Santa Cruz P.D. receives three to five crime tips
per day via its mobile app, and one to three of these
tips — predominately related to illegal drugs — are
legitimate, Vogel said.
“My Street Crimes Unit has made a few notable
drug arrests based upon crime tips received via the
mobile app,” Vogel said.
Working with two graduate students from U.C. Santa
Cruz, the Santa C