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

Keep your school safe tip411

tip411 Can Help Students Keep Their Schools Safe

Like many of you, the recent tragedy in Parkland, Florida has left us wondering what more we can do to help protect our kids in school.

While there’s no easy solution, we believe tip411 can help students to more effectively share information anonymously with administrators and/or law enforcement.

tip411 School Edition enables students to send anonymous tips to Administrators, School Resource Officers (SROs), and other authorized personnel who can respond to the tips in real time from any internet connected device, creating a two way anonymous chat.

It provides a “safe space” for students to communicate with authority figures through two-way anonymous communications that facilitate dialogue, leading to more accurate information.

“Our SRO’s have great relationships with many students, but tip411 allows our SRO’s to build relationships with students they have not yet been able to reach. tip411 also promotes kids being responsible for the safety of their schools and having them take that kind of ownership is priceless.” – McKinney Independent School District’s Director of Safety, Greg Hill

Many communities across the US have begun to use tip411 to improve school safety, and examples of how they’ve use it can be found here:

We encourage you to contact us for a free demo of tip411 School Edition and examples from across the US where our solutions have been implemented to empower students to help protect their schools.

Syracuse Police

New Syracuse Police Phone App Informs About Nearby Crimes, Accepts Anonymous Tips

Can your smart phone make you safer in the City of Syracuse?  Mayor Ben Walsh joined members of the Syracuse Police Department to roll out new technology to help reduce crime and improve community relations. You might have a phone app to find your way around or get a ride, maybe check the weather or play a game. Deputy Chief Joe Cecile wants you to get another app for community benefit.

“Nothing makes it safer, nothing assists with quality of life (more) than collaboration and communication between the residents who live there and the police department.  And that’s what this TIP 411 is going to allow us to do.  We’re going to roll out an app that allows us to communicate and dialogue with the residents throughout the city with everything from crime down to public relations-type events.”

People can download the app on I-Phone or Android smart phones.  Mayor Walsh says it can add some eyes and ears to the police on patrol.

“You may notice a suspicious vehicle in your neighborhood; you may have a vacant house in your neighborhood and you notice some suspicious activity around there, and knowing that I can just pull out my phone.  I can submit a tip to the police department.  The functionality to include a photo is really useful.  So having the app on your phone makes it convenient.”

Tips sent through the app are anonymous.  Authorities say that makes it more useful than texting, where people fear consequences of giving police information.  Police can also use the app to send messages to people about crimes that are going on in their neighborhoods.

Read the full story at WAER.org

Anonymous tip texting app

Rockland law enforcement unveils anonymous tip texting app

Anyone who witnesses a crime or can provide information on wrongdoing can use a free anonymous cell phone application to text police.

The county’s social media-based tip411 application was unveiled Tuesday by the Rockland District Attorney’s Office and local police. The system has been used in Westchester County, as well as across the state and nation.

While police still want emergency calls to go to 911, tip411 is geared toward texting tips and video and could overcome fears of witness intimidation, authorities said during a news conference at the District Attorney’s Office in the Rockland Courthouse.

The application also allows for receiving police alerts and social media channels.

“Giving the public the ability to anonymously communicate with police will allow people to provide key information without fear of reprisal,” District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said. “Tip411 will also help to alleviate a lack of witness cooperation, which has hampered the investigative process in many criminal cases.”

The targeted audience is especially young people, who are rarely without their cell phones.

“Tell a young person to make a phone call and they don’t want to,” Zugibe said. “Tell them to send a text message, no problem.”

The “RocklandCo DA app” can be downloaded free from Google Play Store, iTunes App Store, or by visiting the District Attorney’s Office website at www.rocklandgov.com.

Police said the system enables people to send anonymous tips about crime, drugs, bullying and suspicious activity to their local police department with officers able to respond, creating a two-way chat.

Three ways to send tips:

  • Send anonymous text tips to 847411 – tip411- then type keyword “rocklandcoda” add a space, type your tip info and hit send.
  • An anonymous tip can be sent through the free RocklandCo DA Smartphone app for iPhone and Android or tablet.
  • Use the anonymous web tip form at the District Attorney’s Office at www.rocklandgov.com.
“This does not replace 911 for crimes in progress,” Zugibe said, adding the tips are an investigative tool for police to solve crimes. “The tips are 100 percent anonymous.”

Police said the tip system has been used in Westchester County for nearly six years and has helped solve “cold cases.”

The system costs $17,000 for 24 months. The cost is paid through funds seized from criminal enterprises, District Attorney’s Office Capt. Brendan Donohue said.

All tips will be investigated just as if a person called in on the telephone or walked into a police station, authorities said, referring to people submitting false information.

Zugibe also said the information is not prosecution testimony.

“This is not a substitute to testimony,”  he said. “This will be a valuable investigative tool.”

Read the full story from Lohud.

Cambridge Alert Network

Police Use tip411 to Send Alerts to 22,000 Residents in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Despite serving as an important line of communication during violent incidents or big snow events, like last week’s “bomb cyclone,” most of the city’s households are not signed up for the Cambridge Alert Network.

The Cambridge Alert Network is a system of various services including Citizen Observer (tip411), NextDoor and CodeRED. The network sends residents — through text, email or phone — crucial notifications relating to weather, crime, safety, and any other emergency situations.

Citizen Observer (tip411)

As a subscription-based service, Citizen Observer (tip411), a branch of the Alert Network, allows residents to sign up for citywide information on crime for each of the 13 neighborhoods in Cambridge. According to Jeremy Warnick, Cambridge Police Department’s director of communications and media relations, these notifications reach approximately 22,000 subscribers citywide: less than 20 percent of the city’s population.

″[Citizen Observer] is really helpful, particularly with an ongoing criminal manner in which we will provide updates,” Warnick said. “The other component of it is that it also allows us to receive anonymous tips. [The tips] are encrypted so we have no idea who’s on the other side sending those in. It’s a trustworthy way of people submitting information that may help us with an investigation.”

Warnick said the department usually receives multiple crime tips a week through Citizen Observer, and that they often “come in waves.”

Read the full story from the Cambridge Chronicle

tip411 East Lyme Police

East Lyme police launch app for anonymous tips, crime alerts

East Lyme police say a newly launched mobile app will enable the police department to quickly send information to residents, and allow residents to anonymously send tips to police.

“We viewed it as a way to improve and increase our ability to interact with the public,” town police Chief Michael Finkelstein said about the decision to launch the app.

East Lyme residents can get the app through the Google Play Store, iTunes App Store or the East Lyme Police Department’s website, bit.ly/ELPolice, according to a news release announcing the app.

The ‘East Lyme PD’ app is free and was created by tip411, the release states.

Finkelstein stressed that the system is not monitored “24/7,” so anytime people have an immediate need for police assistance, they should call 911 or the regular East Lyme Police Department phone number.

Residents who don’t use a smartphone still can make anonymous tips by texting the tips along with the keyword “ELPD” to 847411 (tip411). They also can send tips online on the police department’s website, bit.ly/ELPolice, according to the release.

Police departments across the country use the tip411 system. Hamden and New London, which uses the system for anonymous tips, are among the police departments in Connecticut that use it, Finkelstein said.

East Lyme police plan to send out notifications about crime through the app. For example, when police were looking to identify a man who reportedly stole packages off a porch earlier this month, police could have used the app to push out information about the incident, including a photo, he said. People then could have replied to police anonymously about who they thought the man might be.

“We certainly encourage people to go out and get the app,” Finkelstein said. “It allows us to get information out to people much quicker.”

And, if people spot suspicious activity — whether it’s suspected drug-related activity or human trafficking or anything else — they can report what they see to the police through the app, Finkelstein said.

He said the app creates a dialogue between police and residents in which people can provide updated information and police can ask questions — and it’s all anonymous.

Read the full story from TheDay.com