Police officer invents call-for-help application
LAFAYETTE, La. — During his 19 years as a police officer, Craig Mouton has worked on many cases that could have ended differently if it had been easier for the victim to touch base with their emergency contacts.
He started thinking about how technology could help this while working on Mickey Schunick’s disappearance in May. By September he had launched the “Alert Someone” application for Apple mobile devices.
“The app is a tool for people to use,” Mouton said. “If you never use it, if you never consider it, you’ll never realize it in an emergency.”
The simple app has two buttons, one for 911 and another to “Alert Someone,” hence the name.
“If you’re in a different app and your phone goes to sleep, you have to open it up, navigate out of that app and into the call app and then there’s all these other buttons,” Mouton said.
“Trying to call 911 in an emergency with an iPhone takes a lot of time. With this app, the 911 button is there. It’s readily accessible.”
When someone presses “Alert Someone,” the app will send a text message to up to three contacts that the user enters when he or she registers.
The text will alert the contacts that the person is in need of assistance and will give them the GPS location of the person’s device.
The contacts are sent a hyperlink that will open up GPS coordinates on a map. They also receive numerical coordinates that can be read by people who do not own a smart phone.
“Then that person can get those coordinates, call 911 on your behalf let them know this person’s coordinates and we have somewhere to start,” Mouton said.
Mouton said some people want the app because they hunt, fish or walk.
“If you simply open the app while you’re walking and let your phone sleep, you have the app in the background. If something happens, you open up your phone to the app, you have a 911 button. If you’re in a struggle and you hit the alert someone button you can at the minimum get help going to that location or it can give us a place to start looking,” Mouton said.
A police sergeant in Lafayette, Mouton now works in a field training unit having spent 10 years working patrol and six years as a detective.
Between 50 and 60 “Alert Someone” apps had been downloaded as of last week, Mouton said.
“I have ideas for some other utility apps, lifestyle apps and a couple of games that I’ve considered,” he said. “I would love to learn how to do the programming myself, the code writing, but it is time consuming.”
Mouton started a business when he first got the idea for “Alert Someone,” and then outsourced the code. Under the business, CRMout Enterprises LLC, he hopes to produce more applications in the future.
“One thing that is really strong in my life is my faith in God and I have a fear of business. I am not a business-minded person, so for me to wake up one morning with this idea so strong in my mind and this great desire to open a business and begin this adventure, if anyone knows me it’s outside of my character,” Mouton said.
“This is absolutely the result of God working in my life.”