You find it… They’ll fix it!

That’s right. More and more cities are switching over to service request apps that allow users to find issues such as broken parking meters, potholes, lights, report them and then the city will send out a crew member to fix it.

Digital Strategy: Building a Streamlined Digital City Government

In 2011, President Obama issued an Executive Order intended to streamline the delivery of service and improve the customer service areas of the federal government as they relate to the American people.* A portion of this order was based on the fact that technology advancements which weren’t available in decades past now made it possible to create an even more effective working government accessible to all.  The Digital Government Strategy was a result of this order and put into effect in May of 2012.  However, while much of this Executive Order refers to data and safe digital strategies for the federal government, it is also important to note that all levels of government can benefit from a digital strategy.

 

Digital Strategy for the City Governments

Technological innovation is constantly driving initiative.  At the local government level, departments are working to adapt to the increasing need to create open communication between their employees and the public.  At Government App Solutions, we’ve built our Service Request App to give citizens and municipalities a streamlined platform to communicate, organize, and execute matters that involve the public, their safety, and their rights.

 

Service Request App

After learning of the need community members had for an easy-to-use platform to inform their local government of a problem, the Service Request App was developed.  Now city municipalities and citizens can work together to address local concerns.  The Service Request App allows users to submit their service request via a single method which is then filtered to the appropriate city department.

On the surface, the Service Request App can help with common issues such as:

  • Reporting abandoned cars
  • Potholes
  • Broken parking meters
  • Graffiti removal
  • Broken street lights
  • Safety concerns

City residents can easily access a digital app anywhere from any device in order to report a problem or request service.  Each reportable action is appropriately flagged for the intended department wherein the correct administrators can facilitate a solution.  The submission is tracked and managed in real-time by the interested party.

 

Behind the scenes, insight gained from these requests can help facilitate department needs for local and city governments moving forward.  The tools developed by Government App Solutions can be customized to export the data your municipalities need in order to make effective decisions for budgets, employment, and planning.

 

Digital capabilities for a safer community

Cities that utilize Government App Solutions’ mobile applications like our Service Request App will open up the lines of communication between local government employees and their constituents.  Community members will feel heard and see results from their use of this innovative application.  Neighborhoods, communities, businesses, and individuals now have a way to safeguard their environment, streets, and property in a cohesive platform.  Schedule your demo today and see how your city can partner with Government App Solutions for a digital strategy that your entire community will embrace.

 

“Digital Government Strategy.” U.S. Department of State.  Accessed February 2019. https://www.state.gov/digitalstrategy/.

Today’s Modern Parking Enforcement App

Improving Community Engagement and Safety with Technology

Technology continues to integrate into every aspect of our lives, so ask yourself:  as a community leader, are you using available technological resources to the best of your ability? Apps run a majority of our everyday lives.  We use them for weather, for tickets, for groceries, and more.  Apps are designed to help consumers, businesses, and even government.  At Government App Solutions, we design iOS and Android apps to benefit communities in order to give residents and business owners a voice and their municipalities a solution to common problems.  The Government App Solutions Parking Enforcement App is one such product.

What does a Parking Enforcement App do?

A municipality’s parking enforcement division juggles a variety of issues every day.  Enforcement officers maintain meters, lots, and parking zones while administrative staff collect data, sift through images, handle debt recovery, and coordinate with other divisions.  Each of these tasks has their own system and integrating it all together produces a slow workflow output and unintentional errors.  To overcome these issues, Government App Solutions has created an all-encompassing solution.  The Parking Enforcement App efficiently combines all of the duties your parking enforcement division is tasked with in an easy-to-use platform.  The app comes with mobile printers for enforcement officers while real-time data is gathered on the backend for in-house staff.   The result is an organized way to safely and effectively run your department while engaging with your community members.

 

Who can use the Parking Enforcement App?

Government App Solutions created the Parking Enforcement App to be utilized in multiple ways.  Now community and government can work together cohesively to make streets safer, parking laws effective, and government response more efficient.  Municipalities can designate the types of violations their community members can report on or they can choose to use the app as a fully integrated solution to their current enforcement capabilities.  Local officers enforcing parking codes can use mobile printers with the app for the best workflow possible.

The benefits of a Parking Enforcement App Solution

Parking violations most often upset the upstanding, law-abiding citizens of a community while putting government service employees, pedestrians, and drivers in harm’s way.  Parking laws exist for a reason: to create safe streets for the community.  Government App Solutions’ Parking Enforcement App is a tool designed to create safe communities.  Our solution opens up a two-way street of communication between citizens and government so that parking violations can be addressed in a resourceful manner.  Communities have a voice and their requests are heard, thus streamlining administrative procedures.

 

Choose to deliver the highest quality of service to your community and your team with the Parking Enforcement App from Government App Solutions.  Pay only when our platform generates income for your division or consider a monthly subscription.  Our fully integrated government management solution will grow your efficiency, improve safety concerns, and streamline your workflow with just one simple platform.  Contact us for a demonstration or learn more about how our technology can work for you by browsing our website.

Municipalities love our Code Enforcement App

Life Before and After the Code Enforcement App

Empowering citizens and local government to work together towards common goals has never been easier with advancements in mobile applications.  Government App Solutions has taken the hassle out of reporting code violations with our Code Enforcement App.  This simple app allows users to report code violations and non-emergency concerns to their local government, improving communications between community members and government channels.

On the other hand, local government departments are using the app as a turnkey system for their staff to go out in the field to capture, cite, and manage the life cycle of the violation. When local government departments sign up for the platform, they receive mobile printers that sync with the app, so that enforcement staff can also print a citation to either leave or give to the violator.

Before the Code Enforcement App

Before our Code Enforcement App, complaints that centered on city codes were called into the appropriate department.  The problem arose when a citizen didn’t know exactly who to call.  Luckily, most public departments were used to this and could helpfully guide you to the right point of contact.  However, this was time-consuming for the city’s employee and often frustrating for the resident reporting the violation.  Once the right department was tracked down, the caller then had little to no knowledge as to when the problem would be addressed.  The lack of communication and progress created unnecessary confusion and established a lack of faith in the local government.

 

After the Code Enforcement App

Now, with the aid of Government App Solutions’ Code Enforcement App, citizens can report a violation of the city’s code with the click of a button.  The violation is delivered immediately to the appropriate department which can then be tracked by the citizen.  Every city agency tasked with responding to local concerns can play a role in making the streets and city neighborhoods a better place.  Potholes, signs, and broken street light issues are sent directly to your Public Works department.  Your Parks and Recreation Department receives concerns involving their jurisdiction.  Building codes violations are easily reported as well as road obstructions, illegal dumping, and zoning issues.

Rather than printing, scanning, forwarding, emailing, and mailing back and forth, let our Code Enforcement app do the work.  Technology is a part of our everyday lives so why not use it to improve your city?  The Code Enforcement App designed by our team at Government App Solutions is a valuable tool.  Create efficiency among your local government departments while achieving code compliance.  Let our app bring your community closer with transparency and open communications.

The Code Enforcement App creates a branded identity for your city.  Citizens have an accessible method to encourage accountability and engagement.  Trackable progress enables local government and community members to work together to improve their neighborhoods.

For more information, you can check out the Gov App Solutions website or contact them for a demo.

Help make your city better by using this app – it’s free!

Gov App Solutions is aiming to turn regular walks around communities, into productive means of helping make your city a better place. Users can capture video and images of things needing service (broken street lights, abandoned cars, dead animals, parking violations, and more) that are automatically geotagged, and submit it to their local city office on the spot. A user can choose from dozens of customized categories ranging from the mundane (“dead tree in street”) to the frustrating (“someone is parked in the bike lane or blocking your driveway”).

Gov App Solutions can serve as an official 311 reporting tool for cities and is free to get started for local government. Some cities have paid upwards of $100,000 for a custom app to be made for their local communities. However, Gov App Solutions allows cities to customize an app for their city for free. Cities would only be required to choose a monthly subscription plan that starts as little as $199 per month.

Gov App Solutions provides community members with valuable data and status reports on the things that they submit as well. For local government, they get unlimited access to real-time data, submissions, and task management to handle the life cycle of each ticket. “The request is publicly documented and so is the feedback loop,” said CEO Gagan Johal. “This means that when you go to report, you feel empowered that the city will show up and that something is going to happen. In today’s time, it’s too difficult to find out where, what department, and/or who to report issues to. It shouldn’t be that hard, and now it doesn’t have to be”.

This platform not only provides relief to lots of frustrations but can prove to save cities lots of money. This full community management system will cut down on complaints, increase efficiency and allow staff to expedite services while cutting down on expenses.

Call centers remain incredibly inefficient and expensive to maintain. A study of Philadelphia’s 311 system by Pew Charitable Trusts looked at the US’s largest 311 programs and found that cities were paying $3 to $5 per call. In the LA audit it was noted that even if a request wasn’t resolved, it still cost the city about $6.30 per call. Cost was one of the reasons Detroit discontinued its 311 hotline in 2012.

“Gov App Solutions collects detailed data, which include but is not limited to geotags, video and photos, which if the city chooses can be made publicly available” said Paul Serdy. This can be used for applications that go beyond cleanup.

The company plans to launch in the near future chatbots that can sort through the incoming data in real-time to let users know that, yes, the abandoned car has already been reported, then send users who reported the issue a text when it’s been removed. This lets technology provide accountability that gives citizens new faith in their government.

City staff might issue citations and manage ordinances, but they can’t spot everything. People still need to be reporting what they see. Gov App Solutions allow users to play an active role in their communities and report broken sidewalks, dark streetlights, and missing street trees—features that provide critical benefits for accessibility, safety, and shade.

Man pleads guilty to distracted driving incident that resulted in death

The driver accused of being on his phone moments before hitting and killing a pregnant mother is expected to plead guilty.

It has been nearly three years since the crash that killed 22-year-old Megan Goeltz of Hudson, Wisconsin. Her family stated even with this guilty plea, it’s hard to call this justice.

“Every day is difficult,” said Tom Goeltz, Megan’s father. “We miss her so much.”

In February of 2016, on a clear day with dry roads, State Patrol was called to a crash scene in West Lakeland Township in Washington County. Court documents show Megan’s car was stopped at the intersection when another driver “distracted by his cell phone” veered off the roadway, continued into a ditch, vaulted through the air and collided into Megan’s vehicle. She and her unborn baby died from their injuries.

“I often think about what went through her mind in the last moments when she was dying on that road,” Goeltz said.

Drew Fleming pleaded Guilty to Distracted Driving which resulted in the loss of a life

Drew Fleming, also from Hudson, was charged with misdemeanor reckless driving.

“Unfortunately it’s just a misdemeanor, which doesn’t seem to fit the crime,” Goeltz said. “We were hoping for a much better outcome. We were hoping the other driver would be charged with a felony.”

But was Fleming on his phone? The state filed a motion to look at the device, hoping it could “provide relevant evidence to the defendant’s guilt or innocence.”

“Unfortunately they weren’t able to get as much information as they wanted to,” Goeltz said.

The Washington County Attorney’s Office says there was a “lack of evidence” on the iPhone because not all the data was cracked. Still, the prosecution confirms Fleming is expected to plead guilty.

“I hope he learns his lesson,” Goeltz said.

Justice or not, nothing will bring back Megan. But Tom Goeltz is making it his mission to lobby for stricter distracted driver laws. He is also pleading with everyone to make smart decisions behind the wheel.

“There are a lot of families that are hurting because we haven’t been successful, and all we’re trying to do is save everybody. We’re trying to save lives,” Goeltz said.

Fleming’s trial was expected to start next week, but there was a plea deal agreed upon that will happen Monday. The maximum sentence for this misdemeanor is one year or a fine of $3,000.

Officer On Duty Hit By Distracted Driver

The Ferguson police chief hopes drivers will pay closer attention to the road, and the law after one of his officers was struck.

The Lieutenant had pulled over to assist a driver on I-270 at West Florissant at about 11 pm Wednesday.

He didn’t make it far.

“He was rear-ended before he ever even got a chance to get out of the car to render aid,” Ferguson Police Chief Delrish Moss said.

Moss calls the incident an accident but says the cause concerns him: the driver, he said, was not paying attention.

These kinds of accidents continue to put police lives in danger, he said.

“More police officers get killed in car accidents, than by any other means,” Moss said.

Distracted driving and speeding have always been problems, he said. Drivers need to pay attention, slow down, and move over.

“When you see police cars stopped, there’s a Move Over Law. So what people should do is make sure they’re seeing the flashing reds and blues, and pull over.”

Drivers can face fines, prison time, or both, for failure to pay attention to the law.

From the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s website:

“Missouri’s Move Over law requires drivers to approach cautiously when an emergency vehicle displaying red or red and blue lights or a vehicle owned by the state highways and transportation commission displaying lighted amber or amber and white lights is stopped along the side of the road. Motorists must change lanes away from the emergency vehicle if they are on a multi-lane highway and can SAFELY do so. If drivers can’t change lanes safely, or they are on a two-lane highway, they must slow down while maintaining a safe speed so as not to impede other traffic.”

Distracted Driving: Day and Night

Distracted driving may get special attention during the month of April, but it is a year-round issue that needs constant attention until all of us turn our complete focus to the road.  As the use of cell phones has increased, law enforcement agencies and state governments have directed more attention toward preventing accidents through traffic enforcement regulations and organized task forces.

Take action

Despite the initiative to curb distracted driving, we understand that officers can’t be everywhere at once.  Your police force may have more personnel on the roads in order to combat distracted driving in support of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, but what about the other 11 months of the year?  That’s where Government App Solutions comes in.  Utilizing our customizable app for Texting and Driving, your local law enforcement agency can partner with your citizens to make city streets and highways safer.

What causes a driver to become distracted?

Cell phones are the number one issue when it comes to distracted driving.  However, they are not the only culprit.  Below is a list of common tasks officers observe today on our roads:

Grooming:  Applying makeup, brushing hair, shaving, flossing and brushing teeth, and even changing clothes have been witnessed.  Leave these tasks at home before you hit the road.  You’re not saving yourself anytime once you rear-end the car in front of you.  Additionally, the lawsuit against you will take away the precious time you think you need.

Adjusting the controls:  Changing radio stations, finding your favorite song, or looking down to adjust the vehicle’s controls all take your focus off of the road.  Before you begin traveling, prepare yourself and your car as much as possible.  Adjust your mirrors and seat, find your radio station, and set your temperature controls.  Become familiar with these controls so that you aren’t distracted in a few miles.

Eating:  Snacking and eating takes your hand, or hands, away from the wheel.  The food is a distraction in itself.  But, with one less hand on the wheel, you’ll have a harder time making fast decisions and corrections to your driving and to other drivers around you.

Government App Solutions has built a solution that helps law enforcement crack down on distracted drivers.  It was created to provide a consistent stream of revenue to the city adopting the technology while reducing the cost of implementation.  Safety checks and undercover operations take time and money to execute.  The apps developed by Government App Solutions allow city officials to prioritize their needs and work with the community to build safer roads.

Are distractions worse at night?

Adding to the list of distracted driving incidents during the day is the difficulty associated with driving at night.  Bright car lights shining in your eyes from behind and ahead of you can impede your vision.  Drowsiness from a long day of work or an early morning will keep you less focused on the road than you should be.  Even the evening rush hour can contribute to accidents since people are leaving work and are still thinking over the events of the day and not on the road before them.

The best way to stay safe during the day and night is to:

  • Be well-rested
  • Be in a mindset for driving
  • Adjust your mirrors and seat
  • Stow away tempting distractions
  • Put down your cell phone

When you are able to give the road your complete attention, you’ll be prepared to avoid intoxicated drivers and other distracted drivers on the road.  As April and Distracted Driving Awareness Month come to a close, realize you should be driving without distractions all year, day and night.  You’ll avoid preventable accidents that can lead to injuries or even death.

Check out our solutions at https://govappsolutions.com if you’re ready to learn more.  We are driving the 3.0 city initiative that unites citizens and law enforcement to create safe streets and, in turn reduce the risk of distracted driving incidents.

 

 

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is known to bring spring showers, but did you know it can also bring you a ticket?  This month, law enforcement agencies across the nation are reminding drivers about the hazards and risks associated with distracted driving.  While many may assume distracted driving refers to cell phone usage, it is important to note that it is much more.

Types of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is operating a vehicle while performing any type of activity that takes your concentration away from the road.  A person is driving unfocused while applying make-up, eating, changing the radio station or music, fiddling with a GPS, talking to other passengers, and of course, texting or phoning friends.

The worst culprit of any of the above activities is texting.  According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, at 55 mph during the average 5 seconds that a driver’s attention is diverted to their phone, their car has traveled the entire length of a football field.[1]  Within that distance, drivers lose focus on the ‘Big Picture’ around them on the road.  NHTSA has a long history in researching driving behavior and is tasked by the Department of Transportation to supply Americans with annual statistics which are used to improve the safety of our roadways.

It is because of these statistics that Government App Solutions was founded.  Rather than be another statistic adding to the list of injuries caused by distracted drivers, our team decided to unite and make the streets a safer place.  Our innovative solution gives law enforcement the tools and resources to effectively manage and crack down on distracted drivers who are texting while driving.  Cities have a variety of options available to them through our solution that will be tailored to their specific needs.

 

Bringing Awareness to Drivers

Many law enforcement agencies have created programs this month to impress upon drivers the importance of safety on our roads.  For instance, State Troopers in Maryland are implementing awareness by cracking down on distracted drivers.  Last year alone the over 17,000 tickets or citations were issued to drivers who were observed as being distracted while driving.[2]

In other parts of the country, local and state police are using unmarked cars to observe drivers on the roads and highways.  Once a driver is seen operating their vehicle while distracted, they communicate with their colleagues on the road who will issue a citation or ticket.

The overall goal of this program isn’t to bring in revenue; it is to stress the importance of safe driving.  According to the NHTSA, in 2016 3,450 deaths were due to someone driving distracted.

 

What Can You Do?

So how can you help state agencies and your fellow drivers and pedestrians?  If you are driving, put down your phone.  Any message can wait until you can safely pull over.  Keep your eyes on the road to watch out for others who are distracted so you can avoid a potential accident.  As a passenger in a vehicle, make sure your driver is paying attention.  Don’t be shy to call them out if they are practicing unsafe driving methods.  Your life is in their hands, after all.

Talk with your city leaders about Government App Solutions.  The innovative technology from Government App Solutions allows users to correspond with their local officials in order to notify them of distracted drivers, impediments on the road, and a multitude of other solutions that benefit the community’s safety.  Learn more about how to get involved by visiting our Government App Solutions site.

The bottom line is safety.  Drive safe.  Don’t get distracted.  Everything else can wait.  Your goal while driving is to get from point A to point B as safely as possible.  If everyone on the roadways kept their eyes on the road, less deaths and accidents would occur and our police officers could adjust their focus to other ways in keeping us safe and protected.

 

 

 

 

 

[1] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  Pub. N/A.  Web. Accessed April 2018.  https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving.

[2] CBS Local, Baltimore. “Distracted Driving Awareness Month.” Pub April, 9, 2018.  Web.  Access April 13, 2018.  http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2018/04/09/distracted-driving-awareness-month/.

Contributing to the Community

Municipalities throughout the country pride themselves in their sense of community, their local businesses, their vast array of citizens, and their ability to create a network of support and protection for those within their care.  City departments, law enforcement agencies, and local governments and community members working as one, towards a common goal, make these cities function at their best.

The problem arises, however, when individuals slip through the cracks and find themselves in a homeless situation.  These are our very own community members and neighbors who once were part of our ever-functioning society who suddenly become a burden for the city, as some are viewed.  In reality, many experiencing homelessness are contributing to society, or want to contribute, but lack the resources or skills they need.

Homelessness occurs for a number of reasons.  Foreclosures, debt, addictions, mental illness, familial abandonment, and abuse, are only the tip of the iceberg.  Many situations occurred because an individual gave up on a system that seemed to give up on them.  Others occurred because the individual didn’t want help at the time.  The point is, no case is the same, and a wide variety of situations exist that contributes to our growing homelessness rate.

So how do we, as a community, help?  Cities all over the nation are constantly implementing plans, supplying resources, aiding in job programs, and working to shelter and care for the homeless.  These strategies are meant to serve our fellow citizens, yet in 2017, the HUD reported 553,742* people on one, single night were experiencing homelessness; the first overall increase within the last 7 years.  Maybe it’s time to change the game.

What is 2nd Chance?

Government Apps Solutions is looking to support the homeless citizens of America is by offering a solution to those interested in work.  Everybody deserves a second chance, and this plan does just that.

2nd Chance is an actionable solution created by Government App Solutions to enable homeless individuals to become productive members of society.  Municipalities face decreasing budgets, and community growth every single year.  The 2nd Chance solution employs the area’s homeless population; creating jobs that city budgets don’t have room for but desperately need.

The program focuses on a common issue in cities: parking nuisances and community service request.  Often, city governments have limited budgets to manage and enforce parking complaints and other requests by community members.

How does 2nd Chance Work?

2nd Chance takes the parking enforcement issues that cities combat on a daily basis and delivers violations recorded by those hired by the company to report to your community parking enforcement department.  Our employees would then use our mobile app to record and report the violation which is then passed on to your city department to act upon. Employees go out with supervisors and have several months of ongoing training and support.

Who does 2nd Chance Benefit?

This is a win-win solution for the entire community.  Government departments that lack the funds and manpower to maintain city parking laws and restrictions have a team of trained field operators to be the eyes of the street.

The area’s homeless individuals are paid for their work by Government Apps Solutions, not their city, and given vouchers for clothing and transportation to navigate the community whether to get to self-help meetings like AA, shelters, or other areas they wish to patrol.  Each person is issued a phone on which they capture parking violations.  The solution is devised so that those in the field simply report the issue and it is up to law enforcement to take action and issue the ticket.

With more ‘boots on the ground’ capturing parking violations and problems, cities have an increase of income entering the system which can then be directed to underfunded programs the cities serve.  Additionally, our employees have access to free GED courses that can help them get the skills required for future employment.

Small business owners and their customers, who are often most affected by parking violations, benefit by an increase in accessibility to the area.

In all, everyone is entitled to the benefits of this inspiring solution founded by Government Apps Solutions.

 

 

 

 

Cited References

*HUD Exchange.  “The 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress.”  Pub. December 2017. Web.  Accessed Feb. 2018. hudexchange.info/resources/documents/2017-AHAR-Part-1.pdf

A Turn-Key Program that fights Distracted Driving

Ask local leaders why texting and driving is still an ongoing issue in your city and you’re bound to hear a variety of answers.  Departments are underfunded.  They need more resources.  Police are busy with higher priority crimes and the list goes on.  They are spread too thin.

Distracted driving, and texting and driving injuries and fatalities are inconceivable issues where human choice is the root of the problem.  The NTSB, USDOT, Government Apps Solutions, and other law enforcement agencies are working hard to eliminate the amount of crashes that are a result of texting and distracted driving.

Addressing the overwhelming issue of funding, Government Apps Solutions has created a program that covers the cost for law enforcement to hire additional resources specifically to go out and enforce distracted driving laws. The program enforces your city laws while reducing the number of distracted driving citizens, and texting and driving citizens who move recklessly about your city.  It is a one-size-fits-all solution relieving municipalities of the burden of shortage of resources and lack of time.

A No-cost Solution

Government App Solutions covers the cost of the added manpower and resources needed to expand your force.  Staff training, unmarked vehicles, and salary are incurred by the company, not by your department, so that your program doesn’t have to spread your employees too thinly.*

The benefit of this Texting and Driving program means your police force doesn’t lose the enforcement officers already patrolling your city streets.  They instead gain additional staff in the department who can help address the texting and driving situation.

Additional Solutions

Beyond our Texting and Driving Solution, we offer services to cities nationwide that connect you to your citizens with a branded web platform, smarter workflow solutions that reduce your operating costs, and code enforcement options.  If you’d like to discuss any or all of our solutions – customizable to your city’s specific needs, call our offices.  We’re happy to help you engage with your city and citizens for a safer, more secure community.

 

 

 

Cited Resource

Special Note* Depending on which program and options are included.