Law enforcement wants to shut down Google’s Waze for ‘stalking’ police

by: Jimmy WestenbergJanuary 26, 2015


Waze, the popular map application now owned by Google, has offered a few really convenient features to make driving easier. Waze allows users to easily avoid traffic congestion, car accidents, road closings and even police traps. While convenient for the general public, certain law enforcement officers in the US claim that it’s a ‘stalking app’, and can be used to track down police officers for the wrong reasons.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck voiced his concerns in a letter sent to Google’s chief executive on December 30th, explaining that Waze has the potential to be “misused by those with criminal intent to endanger police officers and the community.” The only known connection between police attacks and Waze is one case regarding a certain Ismaaiyl Brinsley and his Instagram account. Brinsley killed two NYC police officers on December 20th, 2014. Brinsley apparently shared to his Instagram account a screenshot of Waze tracking police officers, threatening to kill them. Investigators involved in the murders do not believe Brinsley used Waze to track the officers, largely due to Brinsley throwing out his smartphone more than two miles away from the crime scene.

Additionally, a few more officers are becoming more outspoken regarding their views on the app. Sheriff Mike Brown of Bedford County, Virginia voiced his opinion at the National Sheriffs’ Association meeting on January 23rd:

The police community needs to coordinate an effort to have the owner, Google, act like the responsible corporate citizen they have always been and remove this feature from the application even before any litigation or statutory action.

Whether or not the law enforcement officers have a legitimate case against Google, they still bring up a valid point that should be taken into consideration. How do you feel about the officers’ qualms with the app? Should Google take out this feature before something drastic happens? Let us know what you think in the comments.

  • frafri

    I honestly say fuck the police. I can report whatever I want with whatever app I want. What is strange is that there is not an app to confirms a police officer identity. We need this. A national database with their names. and their locations. Now they are mad because we are ‘tracking them’ how about them tracking us? Now they want to argue. Too bad. We will keep tracking them. its a free country.

    • retrospooty

      “I honestly say fuck the police. I can report whatever I want with whatever app I want.”

      +1 I was just gonna say that but you already did. They can shove their opinions right up their Donut fattened asses.

    • MasterMuffin

      Reading these comments, I really wonder if the police in US are that bad or if this is just “yea we internetz kool kids fack da polize!”

      • crutchcorn

        Little of both. :P Better and/or worse in different places

        • MasterMuffin

          These people should go to Africa or South America too see some reality. It’s true that the things happening in US shouldn’t be happening in a civilized nation though

          • crutchcorn

            No kidding.

          • frafri

            in Chile we beat the cops. We the people promote change, not the other way around pal.

          • MasterMuffin

            K “pal”

      • frafri

        how would you feel if your freedom was taken away?

        • MasterMuffin

          How would you feel if you were not so butthurt online?

          • frafri

            I am not. I just promote awareness for this type of situation.

      • smokebomb

        You are more likely to be killed by a cop than a terrorist in the U.S.

        • JosephHindy

          You’re even more likely to be killed by someone who isn’t a cop…also cancer, heart disease, car accidents, etc all rank above cops.

      • frhow

        After seeing first hand on multiple occasions I can say yes the cops are bad here in the US. Like everywhere there are som e good ones but the things the bad ones do and get away with trumps what the good cops do. This is coming from a guy who’s had 2 close UNARMED cousins to be killed by cops. And all they have to say is “I thought he had a gun” in both cases and it gave the Jury enough doubt to no convict them. I feel once cops actually start getting convicted of their crimes is the only way they will actually look at a life and think twice before pulling a trigger. In America the justice system is extremely flawed and need to be looked at closely. But too many cops/wannabe cops most of the time with military backgrounds are the ones involved in these acts. I don’t say fuck the cops but I do say fuck the wannabe cops that sits behind their badge and use it as a protection measure when they’re nothing but cowards that use to get teased in school.

      • Cole Raney

        It is a little of both actually

    • Maple


  • Kanoosh

    “Waze has the potential to be “misused by those with criminal intent to endanger police officers and the community.” …

    ^ that goes with everything and anything can be misused and abused by certain people for criminal activity, you gonna complain and threaten everything else while your’e at it too?.. didn’t think so, stfu and do your job.
    I respect the law but sometimes the “enforcers” need to check themselves and focus on the things that really matter.

    • Bear3825

      I am in complete agreement. I have a can opener. You can buy it at any store. I could use it as a weapon and take someone’s eye out or even kill them. Does that mean that stores shouldn’t sell can openers? Its the same logic. Waze is a tool just like any other. Good or bad is determined by the user not by the software or Google. Remember people. Locks only keep honest people out, guns don’t kill people – people kill people, and Waze does not track law enforcement. Its just that simple.

      • Whatever1

        It’s no wonder this country is in the gutter. Idiots that think like most of the people in this forum should all be sterilized so that no more idiots that think like you are put on this earth. Do us all a favor and when the shit hits the fan in your life next time and you need help, please don’t call 911. You don’t deserve the help that you request and many of you would expect the police officer that shows up to “do his job” and put his life on the line to protect your sorry asses.

        • Bear3825

          You know I’m surprised that you would think that way. I’m surprised that you would believe that sitting on the side of the expressway at the bottom of a blind hill filling a ticket quota. (Which do exist per my many friends in law enforcement and the reason they hate doing it) just the pin on the map. A 5 minute stop so they can be seen is enough to keep speeds down in that area for hours. They can then be freed up to do real police work which they were not just hired to do but would much rather be doing. Not one of my Leo friends feel stalked nor endangered by Waze. In fact if they are pinned on Waze they are freed up to respond even faster when people who have no idea what good police officers do (like yourself) when you call them for frivolous things like your neighbors sprinklers are on 15 minutes past watering time. Putz.

        • MaxPower

          I agree about the idiots, and you just showed of being one of them with your comment. What’s the logic on what you wrote? They have to do their job and they have to do it right. I pay them with my taxes and I expect them to show up if something happens. They are not paid to make traps, they are not paid for their brutality, their are not above the law either.
          If they don’t do their job right I’m allowed to complain like I would do with any other job category and after few warning they should get fired like any other workers.
          I’m not saying that they are all the same but it’s time for them to step forward and isolate the idiots to make the category reliable again

        • Bear3825

          I’m friends with almost every ward officer in my area. Even they think whoever it is trying to shut down waze are idiots. They like the idea of people knowing where they are. It lets the public know they are doing their jobs. Plus if your being followed and you can’t get to a police substation quick enough you can always head to one of them.

    • smokebomb

      Exactly. They’re just mad they can’t meet their ticket quotas if we know where they are.

      • frafri


  • zombiecidal

    I would say the police are wrong in this case. I think knowing where the police are would be handy since you can never seem to find a police officer when you need one. If you need a traffic violation they always seem to be there but not when they are truly needed. Also I get sick and tired of innocent citizens being punished for what criminals do. Criminals will always find a way to well be criminals so give us normal people a break. Let’s just face it they are just pissed they may now have to spend time fighting crime . Because instead of sitting by the road somewhere for hours watching movies occasionally pulling someone over and writing them a ticket they will have to do their true job of serving and protecting because people will know where they have set up their speed trap

    • your mom

      You should all jump off a cliff so you can’t reproduce. No wonder this country is in the shitter.

  • MaxPower

    I had no idea about this app, I read this article about police and I promptly installed it.
    The only place that should be shut down for stalking police is dunkin donuts

  • Crysis_III

    Its nice to report police presence so people who need police can find them that they are really there. Not the other way around.

  • Levi

    Fuck the police. Leave the feature.

  • Grayson

    At the end of the day we all know they only take issue with the fact that now their speed traps are rendered less effective. Who the hell stalks police, they are visible from a mile away. They drive police cars. If someone wants to murder them all they have to do is drive far enough down the road, you’ll find one. It doesn’t divulge police identities of the officers at that particular location. Get over it, drive more and sit less and we can’t post your location. Easy fix.

  • BigJohn67

    They make me laugh, they argue about being tracked, by who????? I’m to busy working without do racial profiling, or without abusing the power of a badge and a gun, in order to seat down trying to track them. The only reason why some officers have been killed in the past few months, has been because people are getting tired of all the police abuse/killing on actual innocent people, and they don’t even get arrested or their trial goes on for long periods, just for them to get a slap on the hand. Kill the real criminals and don’t cover up when you kill innocent ones, take your bad apples out of the force, and people will support you. Don’t try to abuse your badge and gun power, in order to get away with murder, misconduct, and now even to shut down or force a private company to shut down an app. The more you Fu.k Up, the more people you will have trying to get revenge against cops, the more innocent cops will get harm by crazy people.

  • Duane Westerhaus

    Apparently, the base of AA’s readers (at least of this article) are made up of members intent on being able to do whatever they feel is right when driving on the roadways without regard for anyone else’s safety. Why else would you care where the police are set up? Without traffic cops the American roads would be total chaos! Have any of you travelled internationally? There are countries where I wouldn’t dare venture as a pedestrian let alone drive in! We have a great police system for the most part. I see no reason having to know where police are set up is advantageous unless you are intent on breaking the law. Maybe someone can explain to me otherwise?

    • DamonZ28

      See my comment below. A very GOOD reason for people knowing where police traps are set, is to get them to slow down. Some police departments reported their own speed traps locations using Trapster, just to get people to slow down. Mission accomplished.

      • Duane Westerhaus

        I’ll agree, that is a good reason. But it strikes me that as a whole, we’ve become self centered and feel above the law, only giving heed to it when used as a scare tactic? That is sad.

        • M4Pimp

          Duane why don’t you go to whatever country you were talking about and stay there. I’m sure you can be of so much more use being a good idea fairy for those clowns.

          • Duane Westerhaus

            Because sir, I’m an American! I’ve invested blood, sweat, and unfortunately, tears into this country. I’ve not only inherited but I’ve also earned my right to be here. What investment have you made other than birthright?

          • M4Pimp

            Najaf, Karbala, all over the west side of that country, and a short stint in Kosova back in the day, so yeah chief I “earned” my right too, although I don’t look at that as earning anything. Pure choice on my part, and Ya know I wore that uniform so we as a country can have the right to bitch about a dumbass public servant that complains about an App that pinpoints where his moneymakers are sitting. I mean where does that end? If I have an email group of 30 close friends that like to let each other know where speed traps are, should be illegal too?

        • D-Mac McDaniel

          The only people that I come across that feel that they are above the law are Cops.

  • DamonZ28

    Waze doesn’t “track” or “stalk” police. It can only report a stationary vehicle, there is no technology for “tracking” them along a trail. And a police speed trap is meant to slow down traffic. If Wazers slow down because of a reported police enforcement location, then they’ve accomplished their mission. Any fussing about that will just prove that they’re doing it for the money, which of course is illegal. Before Trapster was shut down (due to funds, not complaints by police or anyone else), there were police departments that ENCOURAGED use of police trap reporting, and they even reported themselves, just to slow down traffic.

    • MaxPower

      You nailed it. This shows that they are doing it for the money and not for public safety.
      Even the most law abiding citizens consider them enemies lately and they can only blame themselves for it. It’s time for them to fix this shit.

  • Sam Garcia

    They need to do real police work instead of worrying about writing speeding tickets. If your a cop don’t install this app. In the end we are ultimately responsible on how and when we choose to share our location and info. You don’t have a case in court!!! You lose cops!!!

  • John Doe

    I bet all the Waze police tracker points ..point to Dunk’n Donuts or Tim Horton’s!! It’s where 90% of the cops are anyways.
    My argument would be that if someone wants to do a police officer harm that they could always find a whole handful of them
    there … so Yes, their argument has more holes than all the donuts in the US!! lol
    Hell, for that matter just hang out around a cop station !!!!
    They should just stop complaining and focus on catching bad guys/girls ..

    • smokebomb

      Wanna do harm to a cop? Shut down all the donut places within 10 miles of the police station.

  • Mista_Mr

    They worried about an app when unarmed black men are getting shot and killed.

  • jman69

    Um note to cops, move around instead of waiting at the same spots aka speed traps!

  • SugarFreeTargets

    Avoiding police traps is now an important safety feature. Avoid these traps makes mine and other lives, safer.

  • SugarFreeTargets

    Avoiding police traps is now an important safety feature. Avoid police officers help increase our chances to live.

  • ky91

    How about police being a Creep hiding in bush using a speed detector to issue a ticket without your knowledge about their presence in that area.

  • Richard Golias

    Using this app makes driving more safe… I know when an accident happens almost immediately. And how bad weather conditions are. Please stop (Cops) complaining because you are not handing out as many tickets….

    • Chris

      As long as you don’t use it whole driving.

  • TrueCitizen

    I think police are just upset that Waze marks their speed traps so they can’t write more tickets and make more money. I see people driving like lunatics daily, a lot of the time right in front of police cars and the police do nothing about it. The police should stop spending their time sitting aimlessly on the road being marked on Waze and go catch the people driving crazy. After all making the streets safer is what they are supposed to be doing while being paid with the hard earned money the government takes from the rest of us.

    They like everyone else in government forgets….they are there to do the people’s will, not sit on the side of the road and respond in the dozens to every kitten up a tree. It amazes me how every time the citizens who empower them use technology to keep them honest the police take such offense and use these sensationalized lies to try and squash a bit more of our freedoms.

    It doesn’t help that most of the press have abandoned all journalistic integrity and print the lies as if they were truth either. Americans need to wake up and use technology in every way to protect their freedoms and force those in power to yeild that power honestly.

    • smokebomb


  • RanRu

    Are the police suggesting that they are so abysmally ill-equipped to defend themselves that the lives of their officers are in serious danger by someone “knowing where they are”?

    The reason police set up those stupid traps and so adamantly ticket people for speeding is because they have to meet a quota that’s set depending on how much money the city needs to make off of speeding tickets, so that’s probably at least partially what this is about.

    • Mike Reid

      Yes. Here’s a clue: Many police are at the police station. Quick, censor this info !

  • HJLester

    While I understand their concern, they are trying to limit freedom of speech, so no.

  • Drift

    What a bunch of juvenile, unthinking assholes you are. What are you? 12 years old? I seriously hope you anti-police types are victims of major crime. I’ll bet the first thing you do is crybaby to the police that you are whining about. I repeat- what a bunch of assholes.

    • smokebomb

      Maybe they should stop killing unarmed people.

  • Eric Cartman

    “police community needs to coordinate an effort to have the owner, Google, act like the responsible corporate citizen they have always been and remove this feature from the application even before any litigation or statutory action.”

    United States v Jones determined that short term monitoring of someone as they move about public places was reasonable, and that one does not have an expectation of privacy while driving on public streets. Therefore I fail to see how the police have any legal ground to stand on to force Google to remove this feature. The police do not have an expectation of privacy while driving on public roads, so I don’t see how they can try to limit the speech/expression of the people on the basis that they are put in dangered, when the information passed in the app is neither private/privileged nor violate their privacy expectations, so I fail to see how such information can put them in any more danger than they would be in otherwise.

  • Albin

    It’s easy enough to find “the police” without any apps. In fact, if you call them they’ll come to you. And the app doesn’t personally identify any particular officer, so the term “stalking” doesn’t make any sense. A lot of municipalities are making a lot of money out of speed traps, and the police departments are getting a lot of their own budgets by meeting ticket quotas.

  • art aguilar

    i would not want to live in any other country than here, although there may be a few bad apples i generally feel safe having them around and like my mother always said, if your not doing anything wrong, you got nothing to worry about

    • smokebomb

      “if your not doing anything wrong, you got nothing to worry about”

      Not including all those dead, unarmed black people in the last 6 months, and even just minorities in general.

  • Ignacio Guerendiain

    Quote: “misused by those with criminal intent to endanger police officers and the community.” This is the same for a car, knives, guns, electricity, fire, etc… Stop blaming tech, stop being so dinosaur-y!!

  • smokebomb

    Waze helped me avoid cops many times back when I lived in VA. Cops in the D.C. metro area practically stalk citizens by finding hiding places to pull handfuls of cars over for bull shit like expired safety inspections.

  • Nick D. Liberato-Randall

    They want to ban the app because something MIGHT happen? That’s outrageous. They’re just mad because they’re losing revenue from not being able to ticket so many people. Look over the pond, where cop cars are purposely dressed in neon so they can be spotted easily. American cops are trying too hard to hide. This isn’t a safety issue for police – it’s about having control.

  • Brad Kalinoski

    hey. You could send out a blog, email, or anything to let people know where the police is. It’s complete ignorance to think a portion of the app will stop or deter or eliminate a way of know where a police trap is.

  • MattEgansHairLine

    Would you be a policeman if you knew anyone could track you?

    Would you talk so tough if there was no police?

    You are free to talk like your hard on the Internet because of the police, fix up cowards!

  • JavaManRules

    if the police want to set up speed traps we should have the bility to notify other drivers of itif the police want to set up speed traps we should have the bility to notify other drivers of it

  • jb0nez

    So they can scan millions of license plates anywhere they want for years, but we can’t track them? F that. Free Speech yo. It’s not like Waze could be 1) used to “stalk” individual officers or 2) be useful in a high speed chase. This is a non-issue and would be a Constitutional violation.

  • M S

    These crybabies are simply mad that their inflated citation industry has taken a hit. Where I live they build gigantic training centers and have lounges with video games and couches etc. gourmet coffee etc. Truckers have been alerting anybody with a CB radio within far greater miles of speedtraps and police for decades. It’s freedom of speech and freedom of choice at work here. The real issue is exorbitant ticket and citation fines, here it is almost $500 for a carpool violation if you are in that lane at the wrong time of day.