Ring partners with two Utah police departments

Amazon-owned doorbell company Ring is partnering with police departments across the country, including two in Utah.

Salt Lake City Police and Sandy Police are two of 400 departments taking part in this partnership.

The map below shows which police departments are currently part of this.

While the partnership itself is very new, people have been using the 'Neighbors' app to post about package thefts, car burglaries and other crimes for quite some time.

Now, this partnership gives police departments access to videos posted on the app, and they say their focus is just on solving crimes.

Sgt. Jason Nielsen with Sandy Police Department says, "The whole purpose of us doing this is to help people.”

There are limits as to how the departments can use the app too. Both Sandy and Salt Lake City Police say what they can see on their feeds are videos posted to the crime and safety sections.

Detective Michael Ruff with Salt Lake City Police says, "We’re looking to use it when we have a crime that’s occurred to try to solve that crime.”

Only then can the police departments send a request to get that video and use it to investigate a crime.

"We would notify them and say, ‘Hey look, you have video evidence that we could possibly use to help solve a crime,’” says Nielsen.

Salt Lake City and Sandy Police say they want to emphasize they do not have access to anyone's live video feed through this partnership either.

“The only thing we do have access to is what videos they’ve posted,” says Nielsen.

Ring doorbell neighbors have the choice to either accept or deny the request to share the video with police departments.

"We hope that you’ll give us access but we understand if you don’t," says Ruff.

Police also say they want to speed up the process of gathering the evidence before it's gone because most people only have the footage stored for a few days at a time.

"Oftentimes it's 5 to 10 days worth of storage. It may take that long for us to be able to knock on a door, at that point find somebody that’s home, then get somebody back to remove that video and the video may be gone."

Officers also say that some of the time it's your surveillance video that helps them solve crimes, especially when they're searching for someone connected to a crime and they don't know who the person is.

Beyond that, Sandy and Salt Lake City Police say that what you get up to at your home is your business, not theirs.

"We don’t want access to your videos. We don’t want to watch what you do at your house. We certainly respect people’s privacy and respect the fourth amendment. This is simply to try to help us solve crimes in people’s neighborhoods," says Ruff.

Ring doorbell users can also opt-out of getting these requests from police departments too.

Salt Lake City Police joined the partnership on June 27th 2019 and Sandy Police joined on July 15th 2019.

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