NYPD Demands Removal of Waze App by Google

Posted by Josh Valentine | Mar 14, 2019

The New York Police Department wants an application called Waze to stop sharing information about police sobriety checkpoints with drivers. In response, Waze claims that the app is designed to show information about general police presence, not sobriety checkpoints specifically.

What is the Waze App? 

Developed by Google, the app uses real-time information from reports submitted by users to mark locations where police may be waiting to conduct a sobriety check. The app does not specifically allow users to report sobriety checkpoints but does allow them to submit detailed comments with their reports.

Demands by NYPD to Google to Pull the Waze App

The NYPD has demanded in a letter to the company that Google pull the app because the Department claims that warning drivers about sobriety checkpoints interfere with the efforts of law enforcement to keep roadways safe.

The Department's deputy commissioner, Ann P. Prunty, has stated that posting the information only serves to encourage reckless driving by helping drunk drivers avoid checkpoints. She added that posting the information about where police are located may be illegal because it prevents or interferes with the administration of state DWI laws.

The NYPD has promised to pursue all legal remedies to stop the sharing of what they believe is “irresponsible and dangerous information.”

Google's Response

Google has argued in a statement that safety is a “top priority” and that the app encourages drivers to be more responsible by showing them information about upcoming speed traps. The company has previously faced pressure over the Waze police location reports after a fatal police shooting in New York City.

MADD Weighs In

When asked for comment, the national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving stated that she believed that even if drunk driving checkpoints were publicized in advance, the checkpoints can still operate effectively because impaired drivers would likely not pay attention to that information. She emphasized that the goal of the MADD organization is to discourage drinking and driving and pointed out that the app may serve that purpose.

How Have Other Agencies Responded?

The LAPD's police chief has written a letter to Google about the app stating that it allows people to target police officers. He cited news reports showing that the man who fatally shot two police officers in New York City had posted screenshots from Waze on social media.

In 2015, the National Sheriff's Association began a similar campaign claiming that the app potentially allows individuals to target law enforcement for attacks.

The Association's executive director has stated that the app doesn't prevent drunk driving but instead allows users to evade arrest. He also expressed concern that the app is a threat to public safety because it could potentially help child abductors avoid police checkpoints. He added that some of the app's features, such as accident and hazard warnings can promote public safety.

Charged with a DWI? Consult a Criminal Defense Attorney in North Carolina

Laws on DWI checkpoints are complex and vary from state to state. If you have questions about a driving while intoxicated charge or sobriety checkpoints in North Carolina, contact the attorneys at Caulder & Valentine Law Firm, PLLC by calling (704) 470-2440 or fill out our online form.

About the Author

Josh Valentine

You could say Josh has a God-given ability for sustaining long-term relationships. He and his wife first met in elementary school and went to Gardner Webb University (GWU) together, where they tied for number 1 in their class. Then, they both started law school on the same day of their graduation and got married during their first semester. He has also known his law partner Blake Caulder since Kindergarten. Theirs is the perfect partnership. “He’s the brake; I am the accelerator,” Josh says. Both Josh and his wife attended an innovative program at Charlotte Law School that allowed them to complete law school in two years instead of the typical three. His wife graduated and passed the North Carolina bar at age 20, becoming one of the youngest attorneys in the state. He readily admits she’s smarter than him. Of course, Josh went on to pass the North Carolina State Bar himself and later the South Carolina State Bar. While in school, he was Associate Editor of the Law Review and received accolades like Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society membership, Order of the Crown, Pro Bono Honors, CALI Awards (highest grade). In his career as a lawyer, he has been admitted to the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, is a member of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys, and completed training for DWI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. Josh has also been named to the Top 40 Under 40 for Criminal Defense by The National Trial Lawyers, the Business North Carolina 2019 Legal Elite for Criminal Defense, and the 10 Best Attorneys for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys three years in a row (2016, 2017, and 2018). Community involvement has been important to Josh all his life. In high school, he participated in building a Holocaust museum that has become internationally regarded. He and his wife are actively engaged in animal rescue, which currently means seven cats and two kittens. He served in prison ministry and assisted with fundraiser banquets there, and he provides pro bono and reduced fee legal services to those in need. As if all of that weren’t enough, Josh also mentors high risk youth and helps with his church’s youth group. He participates in other community volunteer projects involving construction, remodeling, drywall, painting, and landscaping. He’s an active student of the Bible and has traveled to Israel, Brazil, and Europe for mission work. No one can say Josh isn’t a well-rounded individual. In his spare time, he likes to play softball, basketball, and tennis, and he can play the piano and trombone. Sometimes on weekends, believe it or not, he enjoys pouring and finishing concrete with friends who own a concrete and grading business. In his law practice, Josh has made it a point to develop positive relationships with officers, clerks, and district attorneys, which has proven invaluable in delivering positive results for his clients. It’s important to him to both listen to his clients and fight for them. Law enforcement officers have important responsibilities to keep our communities safe and uphold the law, but one of the responsibilities of attorneys is to make sure officers do their job correctly. Josh considers it his job to hold them accountable for their actions. Josh is a person of deep faith. He knows that the established order of our universe and strength of America’s Judeo-Christian influenced court system is built on God’s word. His passion to serve each client with innovation, excellence and integrity is a byproduct of his faith. When asked why he became a lawyer, Josh says, “All through my life, I have personally witnessed family members and very close friends endure divorce, child custody battles, bankruptcy, civil lawsuits, and even fraudulent criminal accusations. I both saw and experienced the stress such events can place on an individual, and I realized that everyone, at some point in their life, needs hope, comfort, and encouragement. In each one of those situations, the person who was best situated to provide that vital support was their lawyer. So that’s why I became an attorney. I understand what you are going through, and I’m here to help you. Our office is focused on meeting your needs and guiding you through what may be the most difficult time of your life.” Education: Charlotte School of Law J.D., Magna Cum Laude Class Rank – 21 of 328 Associate Editor of Charlotte School of Law Law Review Certification and Concentration in Employment Law Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society Order of the Crown Pro Bono Honors CALI Awards (Highest Grade)—Lawyering Process I and Contracts I Full Scholarship Gardner-Webb University B.S. in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude Distinguished Senior Student Award – Highest GPA Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honorary Society Bar Admissions: North Carolina State Bar