Jan 26, 2015 · 1 minute

California sheriffs are protesting a feature which allows Waze users to learn the location of police officers because it might allow potential cop-killers to easily find their targets.

The sheriffs are asking Google, which acquired Waze for $1.3 billion as part of its push to offer a more contextual mapping service, to remove the feature from Waze's software.

The feature was originally introduced so drivers could warn each other about sobriety checks, speed traps, and other checkpoints which could lead to fines or legal troubles.

Waze doesn't mark the locations of police officers itself -- that data is provided by the service's customers, who can also notify other drivers when an officer has left the area.

So it's not clear how Waze is much different from other communications tools that could be used to tell others where an officer is, except insofar as the information is shared with all Waze users instead of just a handful of other people, like it would be on social media.

The protest against this feature follows increased concerns about officer safety after a Baltimore man killed two New York Police Department officers in December 2014.

This has led services like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook to actively warn law enforcement about ostensible threats against police since the shooting occurred.

Waze seems unlikely to remove this feature, however, with a spokesperson telling the Associated Press that the company already "thinks deeply about safety and security."