LAPD Chief Beck concerned traffic app Waze puts police in harm’s way

Google responds to police concerns over the officer location function on its Waze app


The real-time traffic app Waze has earned the ire of the Los Angeles Police Department, which contends the app jeopardizes the lives of police officers.

In a Dec. 30 letter to Google, which acquired Waze in 2013, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck wrote that by indicating the locations of police, the app compromises the safety and security of officers, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Times.

Beck noted that in the days before slaying New York Police Department Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu on Dec. 20, Ismaaiyl Brinsley used the application to monitor police movements.


“I am confident your company did not intend the Waze app to be a means to allow those who wish to commit crimes to use the unwitting Waze community as their lookouts for the location of police officers,” Beck wrote.

A spokeswoman for Waze did not respond to an after-hours request for comment. Waze has about 2 million users in Greater Los Angeles, and more than 50 million users worldwide.

Beck’s concerns come as resentment of law enforcement spikes in some quarters in the wake of police killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Mo., Cleveland and Los Angeles.

The Associated Press, which first wrote about police concerns over Waze, reported that the app’s potentially dangerous use was raised at a National Sheriff’s Assn. meeting in Washington.

There, Sheriff Mike Brown of Bedford County, Va., called on Google to “act like the responsible corporate citizen they have always been and remove this feature from the application even before any litigation or statutory action.”

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