Chief John Swenson

Lino Lakes Police Now Using tip411 to Communicate with Residents

Tony Stano wanted for some time to bring the product he’s helped sell to communities around the country to the city where he lives.

“It’s kind of a passion project for me,” said Stano, who lives in Lino Lakes and is sales director for Tip411, a Twin Cities-based company that has operated a law enforcement communication platform for nearly 20 years.

“I know how important it is to every community we work with because it’s a complete community engagement tool that works to provide a safe space for residents to get involved in government where they might not otherwise feel inclined to say anything about what’s happening in their neighborhoods,” Stano said.

Lino Lakes Public Safety Department is the latest agency to sign on, and the system is now live.

“This is a platform for us to have really on-going engagement with our community,” said Public Safety Director John Swenson. “(Residents) can also provide information to us anonymously through text messaging, through the app, or through the website.”

It works seamlessly with the department’s existing social media platforms, including Facebook, which has continued to prove popular with people who live and work in Lino Lakes.

Tip411 also divides the city into four zones to streamline communication and make each zone specific to where users are most interested in knowing what’s going on.

“Simply by clicking a couple of boxes, we’re able to send that information across all of our social media platforms at one time, which is a real advantage for us,” said Swenson. “Public safety really is a partnership. We cannot possibly keep track of everything that’s going on in our community.”

“It doesn’t matter the size of the agency or community,” said Stano. “If you can send a text, download an app, or manage the internet in any capacity, you can utilize Tip411 to participate in neighborhood safety.”

Lino Lakes Tip411 Anonymous Tips

Lino Lakes Police debut new app on Night to Unite

Residents now have another way to stay informed about what is going on in their community and share information with law enforcement while remaining anonymous.

Just in time for Night to Unite Aug. 6, the Lino Lakes Public Safety Department (LLPSD) announced it had partnered with Tip411 so residents can have a multitude of channels to communicate with law enforcement — all anonymously.

“For the residents, it is just one more opportunity for them to partner with us and provide us information,” Public Safety Director John Swenson said. “For us, it is providing another opportunity to get information that can help us further make our community safe and it allows us to do some targeted communications and continue to work to find efficiencies for social media use.”

Tip411 is a St. Paul company that has been around since 2000. The company works with law enforcement, schools and community groups to implement community notification systems including crime alerts, anonymous text tips, smartphone apps and social media pushes. Tip411 currently works with 1,800 communities across 47 states. Some of its largest customers include the U.S. Air Force and the cities of San Francisco, San Antonio, Minneapolis and Duluth.

Lino Lakes resident Tony Stano, who has been a sales director with Tip411for almost six years, said over the past several years he has periodically checked in with city officials to see if there was interest in joining the Tip411 platform. “Because it was my hometown, I was particularly passionate about seeing it through to fruition or to have the door shut,” Stano explained. The department and the company started planning for the launch a year ago.

Swenson said although the technology is something his department had been interested in for a long time, because of the department’s size there were only so many resources it could manage.

“The thing that really tipped it for us and why we decided to go with it, was the ability to create targeted zones of our city so we could do communications direct to areas,” Swenson explained. “For example, if we had something going on in northwest corner of our city related to theft from vehicles, we could send it out to that area of the city, versus broadcasting it throughout. We can be specific about our messaging geographically, which we have not had an ability to do prior to this application.”

Through Tip411, the LLPSD can send out alerts through its custom branded mobile app (available for iPhone and Android), email, text and social media. Residents are also able to send anonymous tips via all those channels. Through the app and on the website, residents can also submit tips about specific pins/incidents on the community crime map.

“One of the main benefits of Tip411 is that any tip that is sent in starts at two-way conversation with law enforcement and the tipster remains anonymous 100% of the time. For every tip that LLPSD receives, they will have the opportunity to respond to the tip or ask questions to develop information before ever having to deploy a physical resource if necessary,” Stano said. “So instead of an officer chasing down a two-sentence tip that they really don’t know about, they can save time and communicate over our service. For the public, it is a safe space to get involved without the fear of retribution or retaliation.”

The mobile app also enables residents to attach videos and or pictures to their tips. “If LLPSD pushes out an alert that they are looking for a suspect in a red car, you could be sitting at Applebees eating your rib tips and see that car in the parking lot. Right from your mobile device in real time, you can submit a tip about that alert,” Stano said.

As always, residents should call 911 in an emergency. “It is very important that everybody understands this is a mechanism for people to communicate with us about a non-emergency event, or a not-in-progress event,” Swenson urged. “If you need to see a police officer, or you see something suspicious in your neighborhood and you want a police response, that has to go through our dispatch center because these platforms are not monitored on an ongoing basis.”

By downloading the app, you opt in to getting alerts through the app. If you want alerts via email or text, you have to sign up online on the city’s website. (Go to the public safety tab, click police division, programs & initiatives and then Tip411.) Residents are encouraged to sign up for the particular zone they live in, although they are also able to receive all alerts across the city if they so choose. For questions, contact LLPSD at 651-982-2323.

Read the full story from Quad Community Press

Dartmouth Police Cruiser

Dartmouth Police Launch App for Reporting Crime, Safety Alerts

A new alert system to to help enhance public safety communications in town is being launched by the Dartmouth Police Department, Chief Brian Levesque announced Monday.

Tip411 is an interactive way to keep the community connected and informed through email, text message and online public safety alerts. The new system for Dartmouth residents will also allow the public to report crimes and other suspicious activity directly to police by sending anonymous text messages or submitting tips online or through the Dartmouth Police Department app.

“This new system enables members of the public to communicate directly with the department through anonymous tips. It also allows us to send alerts directly to your cell phone or email address,” Chief Levesque said. “We encourage all of our residents to sign up. But I would also like to note that this is not a substitute for calling 911 during an emergency and the tip system is not monitored 24/7.”

Residents can register to receive alerts from Dartmouth Police via email and/or text message by signing up online or downloading the Dartmouth PD app. Developed by tip411, the Dartmouth PD app enables the public to share anonymous tips with police and lets officers respond. Residents can download the app for free for iPhones and Androids.

The public can also share information on crimes or other suspicious activity by sending a text message to 847411 (tip411) and in the body of the text type DartmouthPD and the message they would like to send. Those who prefer a web-based option can share information with police by using the tip411 web form on the Dartmouth Police website.

Dartmouth Police would like to remind the community that this new system should never be used in the event of an emergency, and that residents should always dial 911 if they need immediate assistance.

“We quantify our success with tip411 based solely on the fact that even one case solved because of a tip received via tip411 is a benefit since that case would not have been solved without it.”

tip411 interviewed Public Information Officer Alexandra Ovington of the Arlington Heights, Illinois Police Department.

Q: How has the tip411 system aided your agency?
A:
tip411 has aided our agency by allowing citizens’ voices to be heard anonymously. As police officers, we routinely hear from citizens that they are afraid to call 911. Many citizens believe they can be charged with filing a false police report if what they reported was incorrect or inaccurate. While this line of thinking is a misconception, it still creates an issue of suspicious or criminal activity being underreported in our community. tip411 creates a platform for these citizens to report incidents to police without the fear of misreporting. This allows our agency to be aware of crime or suspicious activity that would otherwise not be reported.

Q: Any notable tips/arrests credited to tip411 that come to mind?
A:
Our last arrest credited to tip411 is a case involving a stolen vehicle. In that case, a food delivery driver responded to a local hotel for a delivery, and while the driver was inside the hotel making the delivery, a female suspect stole his vehicle, which was left running in the parking lot. A tip was received via tip411 identifying the female offender, and that identification led to an arrest. The male that provided the tip received a cash reward courtesy of Arlington Heights Crime Stoppers.

Q: Tell us about your community and your agency (how many residents, how many sworn, etc.).
A:
The Village of Arlington Heights is located in Cook County, Illinois. The Village is approximately 25 miles northwest of downtown Chicago. The population of Arlington Heights is estimated at 75,249. Arlington Heights Police Department has 107 Sworn Police Officers. Arlington Heights is best known for the Arlington Park Race Track, home of the Arlington Million; a Breeders Cup qualifying event.

Q: How did you hear about tip411?
A:
We heard about tip411 via the internet. We officially signed up in 2008 and have been using it ever since.

Q: How is tip411 administered in your department (responsibilities, protocols, etc.)?
A:
 As the Public Information Officer (PIO), I am authorized to post on all social media platforms. Myself and my partner, the Problem Oriented Policing Coordinator (POP), facilitate the majority of posts through tip411. The PIO and POP post media releases, crime alerts, crime maps, event alerts, citizen/community alerts, and updates. In the event of a critical incident or media release for immediate distribution when neither the PIO or POP are available, supervisors are authorized to post on social media platforms through tip411. Any tips that are received are responded to by the PIO and POP and are subsequently assigned to the appropriate bureau.

Q: What have you done to brand and promote the tip411 system in your community to make your residents aware of it?
A:
It is a benefit for the Police Department to reach as many citizens as possible via tip411, as the more eyes and ears we have in the community, the safer our community becomes. In addition to cross-posting all posts made through tip411 to Facebook and Twitter, we also provide citizens with how-to instructions for signing up for and using tip411. We offer these instructions in handouts that we distribute at all community events including Police Department Open Houses and safety presentations. We also utilize tip411 in partnership with Arlington Heights Crime Stoppers whom, through their contributions, offer up to $1,000 for tips that successfully lead to arrests.

Q: Have you noticed an increase in the number of tips your agency is receiving and cases you are solving since implementing tip411?
A:
While the frequency of tips we receive vary from month to month, we do not quantify our success with tip411 based on an increase in the cases we are solving because of tips we receive. We quantify our success with tip411 based solely on the fact that even one case solved because of a tip received via tip411 is a benefit since that case would not have been solved without it.

Q: Any advice for other agencies considering tip411?
A:
Do not be afraid to provide case information to your community via tip411. Any information you can disseminate to the public for specific cases will only help to increase the amount of tips you receive in return. A strong Social Media presence leads to a strong Social Media following. Increase your eyes and ears and you will be surprised at your community’s willingness to help the police solve cases.

Benton Harbor bringing in tip411 app

Benton Harbor residents will soon be able to report suspicious activity through tip411, a smartphone app that allows people to report activities anonymously.

Public Safety Director Dan McGinnis said he wants to help citizens feel safe communicating with law enforcement.

“The company that does this will not reveal the person’s name,” he said. 

He said they have talked to people who know who shot them, but won’t tell the police. 

“We had a person who had been murdered, who was done in front of people who actually took him to the hospital and none of them wanted step up and speak,” he said.

McGinnis said it’s a chance to let people communicate on their own terms.

“We just need the information,” he said. “We don’t care where it come from in most cases. But if we don’t get it, it makes it hard for us to protect your neighborhoods.”

In addition, he said the app will allow the department to send out alerts if needed.

After the meeting, Deputy Director Mike Clark said residents will be notified, when the app is ready, about how to download and use it through the city’s website and a news release. He didn’t know how long it will take to launch the app. 

During the meeting, McGinnis said one of the things residents sometimes want to report anonymously is illegal dumping.

McGinnis declared war on illegal dumping about two weeks ago. Anyone who sees someone suspected of illegal dumping can call the new dumping hotline at 944-7929.

“It’s absolutely appalling,” he said.

He said a state Department of Environmental Quality investigator last week found five automobile repair shops that didn’t have the proper paperwork, showing that they legally disposed of scrap tires.

“They are on notice,” he said. “… The tire situation is absolutely horrendous. We have hundreds and hundreds of tires in ravines.”

McGinnis said they have made 13 arrests concerning illegal dumping since the last City Commission meeting. 

Read the full story from The Herald-Palladium