Ravenna police will let you Facetime your 911 calls

Ravenna Police Department. Ben Wolford/The Portager

Anyone calling 911 from eight communities around Portage County will now be able to provide Ravenna police dispatchers with real-time information, thanks to a web-based app.

“Prepared Live” allows Ravenna Police Department to video call with callers, so police can “see” through the callers’ cameras, giving officers real time information.

RPD will furnish 911 callers with a link which allows RPD to activate live video, along the lines of a Facetime live video.

“We wanted a different way for our communities to talk to 911, and this way we can communicate real-time information that we can share with responders. Besides using this new technology for police emergencies within the city, we are also able to utilize this for the eight fire/EMS departments we dispatch for,” Assistant Chief of Police Jake Smallfield said. 

Participation in video during a call is completely voluntary, and consent of the caller is required. The video call function does not provide Ravenna Police Department with access to the contents or settings of the caller’s phone, Smallfield said.

Videos are saved on Prepared Live’s server, and are property of Prepared Live, but police can request a copy, and can use the pictures or videos as evidence.

Ravenna police dispatches for fire/EMS in Ravenna, Deerfield, the Village of Windham, Palmyra, Paris, Charlestown, Edinburg and Rootstown.

No other police department in Portage County offers Prepared Live, Smallfield said.

Since RPD launched Prepared Live May 19, it has been used for a potential break-in on Shadowlawn Drive, a reported grass fire in Paris Township, and more than a dozen 911 hang-up calls, Smallfield said.

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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.