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.

“There is no better time than right now to gain the trust and respect from your community.”

UPDATE: August 12, 2019

Crime Prevention Officer Caitlin Horne shared the following with us as ongoing proof of the success of Bismarck PD’s tip411 system:

“Below are two cases where tip411 played a HUGE ROLE as it appears more and more people are turning away from using our Facebook page as a place to say who the suspect(s) are as their names would be attached to it and they cannot stay anonymous on Facebook. I know we have many more success stories, but these are two where we got many tips in a fast timeframe and were able to solve the cases quickly.”

  • KT Animal Supply called to report two individuals, a male and female, came into their store and stole two rabbits. The investigating officer was able to obtain video footage of the theft and the video was placed on our Facebook page. Within an hour of the video being uploaded, I started receiving tips on tip411 about both suspects. After the 9thtip, the officer was able to positively ID both suspects and they were both questioned and ultimately admitted to stealing the rabbits. The rabbits were safely returned to KT Animal Supply and the suspects were both trespassed from KT indefinitely.
  • Ulta Beauty contacted Police after a female had left the store with over $400 worth of merchandise without paying for it. The investigating officer was able to get two still frame shots of the female and a male accomplice that was the getaway driver. The pictures were uploaded onto our Facebook page and Tips immediately started coming in on Tip411. The investigating officer was able to positively ID both suspects and formal complaints were issued through City Court. The investigating Officer applauded Tip411 for being the sole reason for the identification of these two suspects.

tip411 interviewed Officer Caitlin Horne of the Bismarck, North Dakota Police Department.

Q: Tell us about your community and the Bismarck Police Department (how many residents, how many sworn, etc.).
A:
Bismarck’s population is over 72,000 people and, in 2017, Forbes Magazine ranked Bismarck as the 7thfastest-growing small city in the United States. The Bismarck Police Department currently has 129 sworn officers and continues to hire more when budget allows.Our Department is a full service agency that handles anything from an animal call to a homicide or aggravated assault.

Bismarck is constantly growing and expanding, and we have seen an influx of individuals coming to our area for employment opportunities. With that said, we have also seen an uptick in illegal activity which makes tip411 a great program to have in our department.

Q: How did you hear about tip411?
A:
tip411 staff came to the Bismarck Police Department a couple of years ago and did a demonstration of what they could bring to our agency. There was a webinar put on and, after speaking to other agencies that have tip411, we decided it was ultimately the best program out there that would benefit not only our department but allow the community to be more involved with our every day activities.

Q: How is tip411 administered in your department (responsibilities, protocols, etc.)?
A:
There are three ways a citizen can report a tip. One way is through the Bismarck PD app. The second is through our departments website, and the third way is that residents can access the program on our website.

As of now, I review the tips that come in during the daytime hours, Monday-Friday, and will distribute them to the investigator in charge of the case they relate to. All supervisors and patrol commanders have access to the program after hours and are able to see all the tips that come in.

With the program being so new to our community (we just recently launched in January 2019), we are still receiving many of what we consider “in progress” calls on tip411. With Patrol Commanders having access to this program during the night hours, they are able to constantly check the status of any tip and determine if it is a call they need to respond to during their working shift or if it is something that can wait until the day time hours.

Q: How has the tip411 system aided your department?
A:
Just in the last two months, we believe tip411 has become a critical and essential tool to this Police Department. We take many reports from our citizens where they ask to remain anonymous and they have been deterred in the past from calling us because they don’t want to be involved in the report. tip411 gives our citizens the opportunity to report activity to us anonymously and help our department crack down on crime.

Q: Any notable tips/arrests credited to tip411 that come to mind?
A:
When we first launched tip411, we got multiple tips on the location and sightings of a juvenile runaway as well as numerous tips on the possible identities of suspects in a huge ring of felony cases.

Q: What have you done to promote your tip411 system to make sure residents know about it and use it?
A:
One of our main goals is to have a positive interaction with our community. We are fortunate to have so many citizens in the Bismarck area support our department and have close to 27,000 people following our Facebook page.

Our Crime Analysist works very hard to keep our Facebook page updated throughout the year. She tries to keep the citizens up to date on current cases we are trying to solve and request that citizens help with identifying the suspects.

Before tip411, most of our tips came from our Facebook page. We would ask the community to help identify a suspect(s) and we would get a great number of people willing to help. The biggest problem we saw was our citizens were wanting to help us and give us information but they did not want to be associated with the case and be looked at as a “nark” and, unfortunately with Facebook, as much as you make your profile private, there is always ways around it.

Now with tip411, our community is able to interact with us in another, completely anonymous, way and it’s much more beneficial for them as well as our agency. I believe the longer tip411 is in use by our agency, the stronger the trust of the community will become and our bond with the community will continue to grow.

We have links on our Facebook page and our website along with a billboard right by our Police Department which shows people how they can use the tip411 app to send us tips. Our local news stations have also done stories on tip411 and have helped us reach out to our community on how to properly use the system.

Q: Any advice for other departments considering tip411?
A:
There is no better time than right now to gain the trust and respect from your community. tip411 gives you that opportunity to build trust with community members who might be on the fence about law enforcement in general. In my eyes, giving the community another way to reach out to law enforcement can only make a stronger bond between the two.

Effingham County, Georgia Sheriff’s Office Launches tip411

The Effingham County Sheriff’s Office has launched a new app for customized crime fighting. It’s called “tip411.”

The tip411 app is designed to help you better connect to law enforcement, find information, view alerts, and submit anonymous tips. It is now available to download in your app store.

“There are a lot more eyes and ears out there other than just deputies and law enforcement that can give us information,” said Effingham County Sheriff, Jimmy McDuffie. “It allows residents to not only submit tips, but access agency alerts. We have a crime mapping program that’s on it. When we do any alerts, they’ll go out on the Tip411 program, Facebook, and Twitter.”

The Effingham County School District has also implemented tip411.

See the full story from WTOC

Tip leads to N.H fugitive in South Carolina

Tip leads to N.H. fugitive in South Carolina

Anonymous tips led to the arrest of New Hampshire “Fugitive of the week” Wesley Barkley in South Carolina.

Barkley, 32, was arrested without incident by the U.S. Marshals fugitive task force at a residence on Foxfire Road in Cowpens, S.C., according to the U.S. Marshals Service in Concord.

Barkley, is now in custody at the Spartanburg County Jail as a fugitive from justice based on the outstanding N.H. warrant. Barkley is expected to return to New Hampshire in the near future, the Marshals said.

As part of the “Fugitive of the Week” poster, the Marshals include multiple ways to communicate with investigators in an effort to develop information on these fugitives. Since 2014, one method is through anonymous emails and text messages through a system developed by the company, Citizen Observer called Tip411. It was through that anonymous messaging service that the task force received a half dozen tips pointing investigators to Barkley’s location in South Carolina. The anonymous messaging service has proved itself countless times as an invaluable tool for the NH Joint Fugitive Task Force, the Marshals said.

Barkley was featured as the “Fugitive of the Week” on April 18. Barkley was wanted on an outstanding Rockingham County arrest warrant for failure to appear on a charge of assault on a minor. The wanted poster also indicated that Barkley had an extensive criminal history, had been known to resist arrest and may carry a handcuff key on his person, according to the Marshals.

The “Fugitive of the Week” had been aired on WTPL-FM, WMUR-TV, The Union Leader, The Nashua Telegraph, The Patch, Foster’s Daily Democrat, Manchester Information, the Manchester Ink Link and prominently featured on the internet. The “Fugitive of the Week” has been a very successful tool that has resulted in the location and arrest of numerous fugitives since its implementation in 2007, the Marshals said. Additionally, the “Fugitive of the Week” is distributed statewide to all law enforcement officers.

If you have any information about the location of a New Hampshire fugitive, please don’t hesitate to contact the NH Joint Fugitive Task Force anonymously at: WEB-TIP or TEXT the word NHTIP followed by any information to the phone number TIP411, the Marshals said.

Read the full story from Fosters.com

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

Dalton tip411 press release

“I’d rather they engage with us anonymously than not at all. This is what tip411 does, and I’m a true believer in that approach.”

tip411 interviewed Major David Dalton of the Clearwater Police Department in Clearwater, Florida.

Q: Tell us about Clearwater and your department (how many residents, how many sworn, etc.).
A:
Clearwater is a City of about 110,000 residents that spans approximately 25 square miles on Florida’s Gulf Coast in the state’s most populous county, Pinellas. It is the third largest city in the Tampa Bay area and it is a unique city with three separate geographic districts; each district presents its own unique challenges. – The East District is a mostly suburban, residential area with significant shopping and commuter activity. Our West District encompasses our downtown core, a major regional hospital, and other business entities. Our Beach District comprises Clearwater Beach, which is a nationally and internationally known tourist destination, which has been ranked “Best Beach in the United States” several times, as well as the “best Place to Watch a Sunset” in the United States.

The Clearwater Police Department is a mid-size department of 238 sworn officers. As a full service law enforcement agency, we deal with many of the same challenges as much larger cities. We have the added challenge of being host to a significant tourist and Spring Break/Spring Training population visiting our City.  With this influx of visitors and non-residents, as well as people crossing jurisdictional lines frequently and not necessarily knowing it in this small, but populated county, we needed a way for citizens, residents, and business owners to contact us in a manner that is convenient, effective, and cost efficient.

Q: How is tip411 administered in your department department (responsibilities, protocols, etc.)?
A:
Initially we started with just tip functionality only. When we launched with tip411 in 2010 we simultaneously began a CompStat program, which was formulated through a centralized Crime Analysis Unit. So, at first, the Crime Analysis Unit and I were the main administrators of the program. When tips came in we would farm them out to patrol, narcotics, etc.

As the popularity of the system grew, we realized there was a need for 24/7 coverage because we wanted to make sure people weren’t texting us tips and then waiting for a response to come during normal business hours. We made a decision as an organization that we wanted give virtual real time feedback to any received tips. That’s when we gave additional responsibility to our Communications Center Supervisors to monitor the system after hours and respond to tips when needed, while the Crime Analysis Unit remains in charge of responding to tips during business hours and cataloging and assigning each received tip.

Our Crime Analysis Unit logs every tip we receive, which has helped us track and report the types of tips we receive, who they are assigned to, and the impact and success of tip411 to our Chief of Police.

image_clearwater_1

Q: How has the tip411 system aided your department?
A:
From our perspective, it’s a critical and essential tool. I can’t think of another mechanism that gets people to freely engage directly with our Department and give us information on a variety of crimes and problems in their community.

In the past, we may have gotten narcotics tips from residents who were inclined to contact us anyway, but we were missing out on those residents who thought they saw something suspicious or unusual, but didn’t really know who to contact. tip411 helps us with a citywide approach where we’re able to reach across populations, demographics, across crime types, and that’s a huge benefit. In this day and age, virtually everyone has a cellular phone or access to the internet, so it can reach a multitude of populations.

Frankly, I’m okay with people who want to engage with us anonymously – Whatever mechanism they feel comfortable with; you want to give them a tool that they will feel comfortable using. I’d rather they engage with us anonymously than not at all. This is what tip411 does, and I’m a true believer in that approach.

We started off with just tips, and then incorporated citizen alerts through the bundle package, so we were able to send out information vital to different geographic areas in the city and alert citizens about isolated incidents of crime or concerns specific to particular communities. We now have tip411 Pro and our own smartphone app that allows us to not only receive tips, but push out information specific to particular crimes, allows us to share crime mapping information, links to important agency information, as well as our social media accounts.

In 2016, our department received 435 unique tips through tip411, and I truly believe that all of the information we’re getting is intelligence that we probably never would have received if people didn’t have the ability to share it with us quickly, safely, and anonymously.

image_clearwater_2

Q: Any notable tips/arrests credited to tip411 that come to mind?
A:
Many. One that comes to mind is when we had an individual wanted for armed robbery; we had been searching for him locally for quite a while. We got a tip from an individual who knew where he was and we were able to engage with them on tip411 and obtain additional information, which wasn’t included in the original tip. They were able to give us, down to the room number, where he was staying in a hotel in Louisiana. We gave that information to the US Marshals and they were able to apprehend him immediately. It also aided us in obtaining tactical information which was beneficial to our approach to the wanted person.

Another example occurred when we got information via text about a male at a certain location with a significant amount of marijuana. We got the tip, dispatched it quickly to some of narcotics oriented Patrol Officers, and they found nearly a pound of marijuana in the house.

Q: How do you use your department’s social media accounts with tip411 to help get the word out?
A:
We try to get tip411 information out to the public as much as we can to try to maximize its usage by residents and visitors to our area. We use it in virtually every instance in which we ask for the public’s assistance. Even when we use another social media platforms, like Twitter, to shares suspect images, videos, etc., we ask followers to submit information using tip411. It doesn’t matter to our agency if it is a routine retail theft case or a murder investigation, we include that as a resource to the public.

Q: What have you done to brand and promote the tip411 system in Clearwater?
A:
We try to feature it prominently on our website and we push it out as I said through Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media. In every community alert that we send, we include our tip411 information. We put it on flyers, on crime alerts – just about anything we send to the public.

When we canvass neighborhoods and leave door hangers, our tip411 info is on them. We include it on our business cards, just about anywhere imaginable, so that tip411 is virtually synonymous – in the public’s mind – with the Clearwater Police Department.

Q: So, why tip411?
A: To me, one of the most significant aspects of tip411 is the “loop of communication” it creates, with the anonymous tipping and community alerts working together. Anyone can have what they describe as an “anonymous” tip service, but people are smart and they know if they have to send a tip through their email, that someone could trace it back to them one way or another.

That’s why, prior to tip411, we’ve had very limited success with other types of “anonymous” reporting services, because they know it could be tracked and that causes the public to be reticent to share information.  Our experience is that the public feels comfortable that they are truly anonymous with tip411 and that allows us to not only receive tips and information, but also have an opportunity to build trust and have additional communication with them.

Text your tip Mario County

Marion County Sheriff’s kick off text to tip app

Marion County residents can now report crime tips via text message.

The new text-to-tip program, tip411, allows Marion County Sheriff’s Office to help connect with the community.

The program lets users report crime tips and suspicious activities by sending an anonymous text message from their cellphone or through a free app called MCSO In The Know.

“We believe an informed community is a safer community,” said Lt. Chris Baldridge,  Marion County Sheriff’s public information officer.

MCSO In The Know gives officers the ability respond back by creating an anonymous two-way conversation.

The technology utilized in the app removes identifying information from users before messages reach police.

In addition to the two-way text conversations, the sheriff’s office will inform registered app users of public safety alerts by sending emails, text messages and app alerts.

Anonymous crime tips can also be shared by sending by texting “TipMCSO” and their message to 847411, or tip411.

Read the full story from the Statesman Journal.