FREEPORT, Ill. (WTVO) — In an effort to notify residents of public safety matters in real-time, the Stephenson County Sheriff’s Office has rolled out a new smartphone app.

Sheriff Steve Stovall has been on the job for nine months and says his biggest goal is to build a strong relationship between the Sheriff’s Office and the community.

“We wanted to get more connected with the public. Our citizens need to know what’s going on,” he said. “So, what we’ve done is, we’ve designed an app that would allow us to give them notifications and for them to get a hold of us at any time.”

The app, available for iOS or Android, was launched last month, during the Stephenson County Fair.

It allows residents to leave complaints, praise, or an anonymous tip, and receive push notifications for severe weather or press releases.

“A couple of other features [are notifications for] a bad accident or some road closures, we can push that out right away. It’s immediate, real-time. So, you can start altering your route,” Stovall said.

Stovall said since it was launched, his office has already made updates based on user feedback.

“We’ve actually had a couple of suggestions. So one of the suggestions is, can you put the Judici button on there? That means we can now you can now touch a button that goes right to the court system in Stephenson County, so you can track [a] cases’ progression through the system,” he said.

Stovall encourages county residents to download the app, but also those of surrounding communities.

“I have Ogle’s app, I have one of Winnebago … I have everyone in the areas app because I want to know what’s going on in their community, too, because it could affect us,” he said. “This is the future of law enforcement. And that’s what’s going to be coming in the future. So stand by. There’s a bunch of more good ideas that we have working in the sheriff’s office.”

Stovall says the app is for information and non-emergency situations, and is not a replacement for 911 or emergencies.