Groesbeck Police Cruiser

Interview: Groesbeck, Texas Police

tip411 interviewed Chief Chris Henson of the Groesbeck Police Department about his and his department’s experience with our system.

Q: Tell us about your community and your agency (how many residents, how many sworn, etc.).
A: Groesbeck is a small community in rural Central Texas. Our population is approximately 4,500 and we have a sworn staff of 10 officers. We are located in Limestone County which has a total population of approximately 25,000.

Q: How did you hear about tip411?
A: We originally subscribed to another free service and looked at upgrading to gain more features and benefits. The cost was relatively high for a department our size so I started researching other programs that were more cost-effective and provided additional services. I found tip411 and researched it for several weeks before making the initial inquiry.

Q: Any advice for other agencies considering tip411?
A: tip411 is a great program and will be as successful as you allow it to be. While cost is definitely a factor for an agency our size, it is well worth the money for the customized app and the benefits the program provides. If you’re going to invest in the program, I strongly recommend using it to its full potential.

Q: Any notable tips/arrests credited to tip411 that come to mind?
A: We are a relatively low-crime city so we don’t typically have the high profile offenses that our larger counterparts deal with. A large number of our tips concern drug information, routine complaints, and school-related issues. We’ve made several significant narcotic cases with the help of information provided to us through tip411.

We have also partnered with the local school district so the students have the ability to report threats of violence, bullying, or any other offense that occurs at school. When those tips are received, they are immediately forwarded to the campus principal for response unless the complaint requires an immediate police action. We received one tip last year that concerned a threat of potential violence at the local high school. The threat was received on a social media platform by one of the students, and someone from within the school was aware of the threat and immediately forwarded it to tip411. We were able to work with the administration to place the school in a lock-down mode until we could confirm the threat. The investigation led to the suspect who was in another county and not an imminent threat to the school. That tip alone made the program worth every dollar.

Q: How is tip411 administered in your department (responsibilities, protocols, etc.)?
A: Since we are a small department, I’m able to process the tips that come in. I have a detective assigned to an administrator role as well but I primarily handle the intake and dissemination of tip information.

Q: How has the tip411 system aided your agency?
A: Since we are a small city, citizens find it difficult to come forward and provide information for fear of being identified by other members of the public. tip411 has given them an avenue to provide information to us without revealing their identity. It has also given our youth the ability to have school-related issues addressed without the stigma of reporting to the principal’s office.

Q: What have you done to brand and promote the tip411 system in your community to make your residents aware of it?
A: We promote the program as often as possible. We typically post our tip411 community alerts to our Facebook page so the reference to tip411 is always made. We’ve done multiple newspaper articles about the program as well as community events and school training on its use.

Q: Have you noticed an increase in the number of tips your agency is receiving and cases you are solving since implementing tip411?
A: I’ve noticed the number of tips increase the more comfortable people get with the level of anonymity. Again, we are a relatively low-crime city so most of our tips revolve around narcotics use or routine, every day complaints. We have some tipsters who use the program instead of going through the dispatch center for normal complaints. That was not our intended purpose, but I don’t want to discourage anyone from using the program so we take any information that is provided to us and handle it accordingly.

Q: What types of tips/situations have you seen tip411 be most useful for your community?
A: It has proven most useful in combatting narcotics within our city and addressing issues within our school district.

Crime Solvers Tip411

Fairfax County Crime Solvers Partners with tip411

Fairfax County Crime Solvers has partnered with tip411 to introduce a new and innovative crime-fighting tool.

Through a partnership with tip411, information can now be shared anonymously with police via a free smartphone app, text message, or a web tip form.

Fairfax County Crime Solvers encourages anyone with a smartphone to download their free Fairfax Co Crime Solvers app for iPhone/Android or to text anonymous tips to 847411 using keyword FCCS.

Residents should submit tips about crimes, drugs, bullying, threats, suspicious activity, and more to help police protect students and community members of all ages.

Issues requiring immediate public safety attention should always be reported directly police by calling 9-1-1.

More information about Fairfax County Crime Solvers can be found at www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org

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.