South Carolina man invents app to let people know when police pursuit is underway

Posted at 7:22 PM, May 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-29 14:32:52-04

A South Carolina man said his smartphone app is all about "situational awareness" and allowing users to take control of a normally uncontrollable situation.

PursuitAlert lets users know if there's a pursuit happening in a three-mile radius of their phone.

"At least the public has some control over their destiny," said app founder Tim Morgan.

Morgan used to be a law enforcement officer in South Carolina and thought of the idea shortly after he witnessed a tragedy that stuck with him.

He said a young man was just trying to get to work when he got in the pathways of a fleeing suspect. He was hit and killed; leaving behind a wife and children.

"The thought was that there has to be a better way," Morgan said. "If he had only known that he was in an area of immediate danger, he could have made some decisions on his own that may have saved his life."

ABC15 reached out to the Department of Public Safety to see how many pursuits they deal with year to year.

According to those statistics, they responded to 192 pursuits in 2015, 210 in 2016 and already in 2017, there have been 121.

There have also been many scary scenes we have covered here on ABC15 that have played out on busy roadways.

One example was back in December of 2016 when a stolen U-Haul truck was flying down the street; blowing multiple red lights.

That suspect and driver got out of the car at the end of the chase and attempted to carjack a mother with her young child inside.

"She called me hysterically saying somebody literally tried to carjack her with our 1 and a half-year-old," said the victim's husband.

And in March of this year multiple people were carjacked by a suspect who was on the run after being accused of a murder in Ahwatukee.

"I had three to five seconds to determine if bullets were going to be coming at me," victim Jim Darling recalled. "I didn't know what the deal was."

Morgan said it is all about giving drivers the ability to take action.

"If they get a notification, they can decide for themselves whether or not to pull over," said Morgan. "Instead of being blindly hit broadside at an intersection."

The app has not been rolled out yet because Morgan is hoping to get more law enforcement agencies and departments to sign on to use it.

Right now, it's up to the department to decide to purchase the software to install in each patrol car. The cost is roughly $500. If you think your local department should have it, you can use the PursuitAlert website to let them know you want them to purchase it.