Blog

App for Public to Report Terror Suspects Unveiled at Sheriffs' Counterterrorism Conference

Craig Bannister
By Craig Bannister | May 25, 2017 | 12:38 PM EDT

New app combats terrorism.

At the National Counterterrorism Conference in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday, the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) announced the release of a new anti-terrorism tool for the public.

NSA’s BlackBox Digital Witness APP- originally implemented in 2013 as a Neighborhood Watch tool to fight crime in U.S. communities – now enables users to report suspicious activity related to terrorism.

After the San Bernardino, California Shooting, NSA moved quickly to add this feature to help fight domestic terrorism. Like NSA’s current telephone crime tip lines, the public can use the app to identify and report signs of terrorism to law enforcement. This feature was developed in coordination with The Department of Homeland Security and National Fusion Center Association. However, NSA cautions that it is not a substitute for calling 911 in emergencies.

The APP can be downloaded on Google Play and on i-Tunes by searching for “BlackBox Digital Witness.”

“America’s sheriffs understand the value of our citizens and the role they play in helping keep our communities safe, said Jonathan Thompson, Executive Director and CEO of the National Sheriffs’ Association. Combating terrorism “requires we work with our citizens and provide them with new tools to help in the fight against crime and to protect their families and schools. Intelligence and communication is crucial in responses to terrorism,” Thompson added.

NSA’s Counterterrorism Conference runs from May 25-26 and addresses such topics as:

  • The Islamic State’s adoption of countermeasures to maintain its social media presence,
  • Lessons Learned from the Pulse Nightclub and Ft. Lauderdale Airport terrorist attacks,
  • The “Lone Wolf Threat,” and
  • Responding to the needs of victims and their families.

Since 1972, the Neighborhood Watch Program (housed within the National Sheriffs' Association) has worked to unite law enforcement agencies, private organizations, and individual citizens in a nation-wide effort to reduce crime and improve local communities.

The National Sheriffs’ Association is one of the largest associations of law enforcement professionals in the United States, representing more than 3,000 elected sheriffs across the nation, and a total membership of more than 20,000.