Social media is often the quickest source for news, but it may not always be the most accurate. The City of Winnemucca launched its app, City of Winnemucca, a little over a year ago, aiming to give Winnemucca and Humboldt County residents access to the most accurate information and services efficiently.

Winnemucca Police Department (WPD) Chief Mike Rangel said in an email that “The app not only provides services and quick links but it also provides alerts, weather conditions, and important public information. Though such information will eventually be added to other social media platforms, this information is added first to the app and then the app sends it to the social media. Be the first to get the news!”

With the Pew Research Center finding that over 80 percent of Americans get their news from digital sources, the City of Winnemucca app (which can be found in any app store for smartphones) is an excellent resource for local information, services and emergency notifications. 

The app allows for residents to do things like access their water bill to pay it, see press releases from the Winnemucca Police Department, receive emergency notifications, see information about Nevada roads, City Council meeting agendas, business license forms, contact information for local officials, job opportunities, see Animal Control’s Dog of the Week, view the Most Wanted, submit tips (which can be done anonymously), file officer complaints or commendations, access domestic violence resources and much more. 

Rangel quipped that the “Most Wanted” feature of the app is the public’s favorite element so far, with pictures of individuals wanted by the WPD and charges brought against them. 

Having access to this information “at the tip of your fingers” can be a major benefit to residents, as news on social media is not strongly regulated. In 2020, Pew Research Center also found that of those that go to social media for news, most expect it to be inaccurate.

“Information from social media can be hacked, altered, and may be misleading.The posts made through the app originate from the WPD/City not by a third party,” explained Rangel.

The app is just like any of the others that a person is likely to have, and does have the option to enable or disable data tracking, which is regulated by the app developer, not the WPD. 

“Permission to track is by the developer, not [the WPD]. This department does not get any information on the user’s location or tracking activity. This department does not have control over the permission, but the user can deny tracking,” said Rangel. 

The app was designed to keep the community informed and allow easy access to services offered by the City. For the WPD, the app also allows users a clear picture of what the WPD does. 

“The Winnemucca Police Department wants to be as transparent as possible, which this app provides more transparency,” said Rangel.

“You must check it out to truly appreciate what it has to offer.”