tip411 recently interviewed Trooper Austin McDaniel of the Alaska Department of Public Safety about his agency’s use of tip411’s anonymous tips tool. In particular, Trooper McDaniel said his agency has received over 1,000 tips about suspicious drug activity, leading to the seizure of millions of doses of fentanyl in 2022, a record high.
Q: How has the tip411 system aided your agency?
A: tip411 has been a critical tool to help combat drug trafficking that is occurring across urban and rural Alaska. We have received 1,100 tips about suspicious drug activity occurring around the state, and these valuable tips helped DPS seize millions of potentially fatal doses of fentanyl in 2022, a record high.
Q: Any notable tips/arrests credited to tip411 that come to mind?
A: A serial arsonist that terrorized a small Interior Alaska community was arrested in 2022. Anonymous tips helped lay the groundwork for our investigators to make the case. We have also arrested dozens of drug traffickers and individuals with warrants due to the actionable information provided by tip411 tipsters.
Q: What have you done to promote your tip411 system to make sure residents know about it and use it?
A: We have utilized business cards, encourage commanders to reference it during community gatherings and meetings that they attend, and conducted a robust advertising campaign in January 2023 to encourage suspicious drug trafficking tips. During the $40,000 advertising campaign funded by our state HIDTA initiative, we saw a 318% increase in tip submissions and a 197% increase in drug seizures.
Q: Many of our customers are local police departments. Being a state agency, what advice would you give to other agencies like yours who may be considering tip411 or an anonymous tip solution?
A: tip411’s customer support, onboarding, and platform are the best we have seen. It is easy to assign tips to a unit or area for follow up investigation. The alert function is industry best.
Q: Anything else that’s important to note?
A: We have been thoroughly impressed by the tip411 platform since we began using it widely in 2019. We have received hundreds of actionable tips that we are able to have anonymous conversations with the tipsters that have greatly aided our investigations and have helped make our state a safer place to live, work, visit, and raise a family.
Q: Tell us about your agency (how many sworn, how many areas/miles are under your jurisdiction, etc.) and the agency’s role in the state.
A: The Alaska Department of Public Safety includes the three statewide law enforcement agencies that serve Alaskans including the Alaska State Troopers, Alaska Wildlife Troopers, and State Fire Marshals Office. We provide primary police protection for approximately 400,000 Alaska citizens. Our 410 law enforcement officers responded to over 140,000 calls for service last year and conducted over 500 search and rescues. Alaska does not have a county law enforcement system, so if there is no city police department for your community, the primary law enforcement agency is the Alaska State Troopers.
Q: How is tip411 administered in your agency (responsibilities, protocols, etc.)?
A: Our public information office manages the alerts that are issued and our statewide intelligence center triages all incoming tips and assigns them to investigators and officers to further follow up on.