tip411 recently interviewed Scott Price of the Information Technology Unit at the Pennsauken, New Jersey Police Department (87 sworn officers) about his agency’s use of tip411’s anonymous tips tool. Price said the tip411 tool is an easy, instant way for the police to communicate with the public, is extremely user friendly, was simple to setup and requires minimal intervention from him.
Q: From an IT perspective, what makes tip411 a great tool?
A: It is an easy, instant way for the police to communicate with the public. The public usually receives a faster response time when submitting a tip as the tip goes directly to a supervisor on duty as apposed to a call center for our County Dispatch.
Q: Can you provide some details on how easy it was to set tip411 up for your department and the ease of use for your personnel?
A: The web interface is extremely user friendly. Very little was required from me, besides inputting our department-specific information. When information was required, tip411 staff was available and guided me through the process. The platform is self-explanatory and officers can navigate it easily.
Q: As a member of the IT Unit, can you speak to tip411’s functionality and security?
A: Out of all of the computer programs, applications, and software that officers use, this one requires minimal intervention from me. Once set up, it just works! As for security, I have not been able to find any problems with it. Individual user access can be set to see as much or as little as the Chief decides.
Q: How is tip411 administered in your department (responsibilities, protocols, etc.)?
A: Every Officer has downloaded the application on their phone. Supervisors, administration, and a dedicated cellular telephone at the Information Officer’s Desk all receive the incoming tips. When a tip is received, the supervisor will respond to the tipster. If a supervisor is busy, the Officer working the Information Desk can respond. The tip is then given over the radio to the officer in the district where the tip was received so they can investigate. The Alert function is also broken down into several groups such as specific area districts, Township news, Township events, press releases, traffic incidents/closures, and Community Policing events. The most used one is an internal group for all Officers where things such as overtime details, point of information alerts, BOLO alerts, and announcements are made. Since every Officer has the application on their phone, they are immediately notified of important information. Speed studies, temporary road closures, missing persons, and significant arrests are the next most used alert groups we have.
Q: How has the tip411 system aided your department?
A: The department is now able to get information out to the public in real time. For example, we don’t have to hope that someone sees a post on social media when we have a missing person – now they will see it as soon as the department sends the alert.
Q: Any advice for other departments considering tip411?
A: Price and functionality is what it comes down to. For the same price you are paying for that program that sends a text message to your residents, you could be having 2-way conversations with them through tip411. You can also utilize the system to instantly alert the public of danger, re-route them around a dangerous traffic incident, or invite them to community events.
Q: Tell us about your community and the Pennsauken Police Department (how many residents, how many sworn, etc.).
A: Pennsauken Township is 12.1 square miles with a population of 36,000 residents. It is bordered by Camden City, Cherry Hill Township, Cinnaminson Township and Merchantville Township. Our 87 sworn officers are on track to respond for roughly 80,000 calls for service in 2023.