A new smartphone app will let town residents be part of the police force, allowing allow anyone who downloads it to send anonymous tips and get alerts about crime in the community.
The Legislative Council this week approved funds for the police department to purchase the app.
“We know people are scared or intimidated,” Police Chief Thomas Wydra said. “This is the perfect tool to overcome that fear. It’s a way to encourage people to engage with us.”
The app, called tip411, lets a user submit crime tips anonymously, which alleviates a fear some have of getting involved with police. A user also can include photos or video.
Another feature allows the department to send out alerts to the community about crimes in the area. The alerts can be categorized by type of crime and can be directed at particular communities and neighborhoods. Through the app, a person with information can also add a tip to a specific alert.
“We want to connect with everybody, but certain groups are timid,” Wydra said. He said he is thinking specifically about schoolchildren and people with questionable immigration status who may have a heightened fear of interacting with police. “The app reaches them,” he said.