Hamburg, NY --By the touch of a smart phone, people in the town of Hamburg can get the latest alerts from police letting them know what's happening in the area.
The application called "Code Red" notifies users about everything from a missing person report to nearby construction.
"This takes us right to the area where were we want to send the message out to," Emergency Manager Sean Crotty said.
Crotty showed us how the safety dispatch center can determine who receives the message.
"Ten miles within this circle at the fairgrounds they would get the notification on the mobile app device," Crotty said.
The application proved to be a useful tool Tuesday at the Erie County Fair when a man with special needs became separated from his family. Dispatchers sent out an alert that showed up on about 450 peoples phones who had the application at the fairgrounds..
The alert provided a description of the missing man. He was described as 5 feet 5 inches tall, with white hair and a white beard.
Within minutes after the alert was sent out, a person with the code red application found and reported the missing man.
"It really empowers the citizen to be the boots on the ground and the eyes and ears for us," Crotty said. We can't be everywhere, but this allow us to be more effective. "
The town of Hamburg just started to use the app this summer and it was used during the Toys R Us homicide investigation to encourage surrounding businesses to turn in surveillance video.
In the midst of large crowds at the fair, security is glad that technology is there to help.
"Separated parties are common at the fair and the code red alert saved us a lot of time," Security Director Scott Ritchie said.
The application is free for smart phone users.