Keep our Woods & Waters Safe

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife debuts crime-fighting app

Need to report suspected illegal activity related to fish, wildlife or boating to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources?

Now, there’s an app for that.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife has partnered with tip411 to offer the public a way to submit anonymous tips using the new KFWLaw smartphone app or by text message and the web. Similar technology has helped reduce crime in communities nationwide.

“Through these new channels, the public can report crimes or suspicious activity anonymously and in real-time directly to Kentucky’s conservation officers,” said Col. Eric Gibson, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s Law Enforcement Division director. “It’s crime fighting the 21st Century way.”

The free KFWLaw app can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store. Links to the stores also are posted on the department’s website.

Anonymous tips can also be submitted from non-smartphones with texting capability. Text the keyword “KFWLAW” along with your message or tip to 847411 (tip411).

Whether using the app or texting tips via a non-smartphone, the technology removes all identifying information before officers see the tips. There is no way to identify the sender.

These new features supplement the department’s longtime tip line, 1-800-25-ALERT. In an emergency, or when there is an urgent need for law enforcement, calling 9-1-1 remains the best course of action.

Kentucky’s conservation officers are sworn law enforcement officers with statewide jurisdiction but a primary mission focus on hunting, fishing and boating enforcement.

In their everyday role, conservation officers ensure compliance with hunting and fishing laws and ensure that the state’s waterways are a safe place for all to enjoy by utilizing a two-pronged approach consisting of education and enforcement.

Read the full story from the Northern Kentucky Tribune

Man kills great white

Man Kills Great White, tip411 Leads to Arrest

A San Jose man was recently convicted in Santa Cruz Superior Court for unlawfully killing a great white shark – also known as a white shark – in Santa Cruz County last summer.

Vinh Pham, 41, was fined $5,000 and placed on conditional probation for two years. The court also ordered his firearm to be destroyed.

Wildlife officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife began their investigation on June 17, 2018, immediately after the 9-foot male white shark washed up on Beer Can Beach in Aptos.

A necropsy or animal autopsy performed on the shark confirmed that it had been killed by multiple shots from a .22 caliber firearm.

Soon after, CDFW received a tip on its CalTIP reporting line that a member of a commercial fishing boat crew may have been responsible for the shark’s death.

Officers investigated the tip that night and observed the vessel fishing after dark near where the shark was discovered.

Two wildlife officers contacted the crew as the vessel returned to Santa Cruz Harbor early the next morning.

A regular commercial fishing inspection uncovered multiple violations involving their catch for that day, including possession of undersize halibut, no landing receipts, failure to weigh their commercial catch and failure to turn in landing receipts.

During this investigation, the officers located a fully loaded .22 caliber rifle concealed behind the seat of the truck the suspect was using to transport his commercial catch to markets.

Read the full story from Lake County News

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Tip411

Statewide Agencies Seeing the Benefits of tip411: An Interview with South Carolina DNR

tip411 interviewed Captain Lee Ellis of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources about his agency’s use of tip411.

Q: Tell us about your agency (how many sworn, how many areas/miles are under your jurisdiction, etc.) and the agency’s role in the state.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division currently has 262 sworn officers. SCDNR Law Enforcement has statewide enforcement authority with the primary responsibility of enforcement of the state’s criminal codes related to Hunting, Boating, Recreational and Commercial Fishing, Homeland Security, and Search & Rescue response.  SC DNR is responsible for patrolling 30,111 square miles of land, 460,000 acres of lakes, 8,000 miles of rivers, and 3,000 miles of coastal waters.

Q: How did you hear about tip411?
Upon taking over our “Operation Game Thief“ anti-poaching program, I determined that SCDNR needed to increase the avenues through which anonymous reporting of violations was possible. At the time we had a toll-free phone line as the only means of reporting violations. Through talking with other states and conducting some internet research, it was determined we wanted to be able to receive tips not only through our website, but with the huge usage of smartphones we felt an anonymous tip phone app would also need to be a requirement. After talking with several vendors it was determined that tip411 was a perfect fit for our needs.

Q: How is tip411 administered in your agency (responsibilities, protocols, etc.)?
All tips come into our 24 hour radio dispatch facility. Once a tip is received, the dispatcher corresponds with the tipster and, once the area where the violation is occurring is determined, an officer assigned to that area of responsibility is given the tip for follow-up. 

Q: How has the tip411 system aided your agency?
Through the use of tip411, which we named SCDNR Tips, we have received over 1,100 tips since going live in July of 2016. During this time, officers have not only received information regarding violations through the tip411 program, but they have received photographs and videos through the tip app as well. This not only aids in prosecution, but in many cases the violators have admitted to their actions once confronted with the photographic or video evidence.

Q: Any notable tips/arrests credited to tip411 that come to mind?
We have made numerous arrests from tips submitted through tip411 for violations such as night hunting, out of season hunting, hunting over bait, and taking over the limit. The fact that our officers have a direct line to contact the tip submitter without breaking the anonymous nature of the system allows for immediate updates while investigating tips. SCDNR has received numerous tips on crimes other than natural resource violations over the past 2 years, and we pass this information on to the appropriate agency or collaborate during the investigation to ensure they receive the information they need without compromising our tipsters’ personal information.

Q: What have you done to promote your tip411 system to make sure residents know about it and use it?
We have issued news releases on our program and have used media advertising to ensure the message gets out to residents across the state.

Q: Many of our customers are local police departments. Being a state agency, what advice would you give to other agencies like yours who may be considering tip411 or an anonymous tip solution?
At first, SCDNR began using these tip submission opportunities as a test to see if these venues were successful. As tip411 is a low cost subscription-based service, it allowed our agency to avoid purchasing software and the costs associated with maintaining expensive software programs. In just a short time it has proven it was a worthy investment, and we recently renewed our subscription for another 2 years.

Q: Anything else that’s important to note?
The service provided by tip411 has been great! Their technical help working with our IT department has allowed for SCDNR to go from a single toll-free phone tip line to submission venues using our agency website, agency Facebook page, agency smartphone app, and to link with private outdoor related apps to provide a direct link to our tip submission venues even when not using an SCDNR app.

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control

Delaware Natural Resources Police launch tip411 mobile app

Anonymously report poachers, polluters and other violators to DNREC in Delaware.

Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control launched a new law enforcement app, enabling the public to connect with the department’s Natural Resources Police officers, receive alerts and submit anonymous tips from their smartphones.

Developed by software company tip411, the Delaware Natural Resources Police app encourages the public to provide DNREC’s Natural Resources Police with factual and anonymously reported information leading to the arrest of poachers, polluters and other violators. The app is available for free download by searching “DENRP” via the Google Play Store or the iTunes App Store. The app can be used with 100 percent anonymity, as tip411′s technology removes all identifying information before NRP officers see the tips.

Delaware’s tip411 system enables the public to connect with the three branches of Natural Resources Police to report crimes and hazards to public safety. In addition to enforcing Delaware criminal and motor vehicle laws as do all Delaware police agencies, DNREC’s three law enforcement branches focus on specific enforcement areas.

Read the full story from the Dover Post

Talk or text to turn in poachers

Talk or text to turn in poachers

Since the passage of Amendment 75, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has made it a priority to increase the amount of enforcement in every county of The Natural State. Each county has at least two officers assigned to patrol its woods and waters, and officers work together to target heavily used areas during certain times of the year. But with all these added men and women, the AGFC has only 180 wildlife officers when at full staff.

With only 180 wildlife officers to cover more than 3.4 million acres of hunting and fishing area in Arkansas, the deck may seem stacked in favor of poachers. Thanks to concerned sportsmen and sportswomen who care about Arkansas’s natural resources, the AGFC continues to make a strong statement to people who try to skirt the law and ignore wildlife regulations.

Anyone who witnesses a wildlife violation is encouraged to call the AGFC via telephone at 800-482-9262 to turn in the violator.

“We make a lot of cases thanks to tips from concerned citizens,” said Major Jason Parker with the AGFC. “Some of the contacts are even made by friends and family members of the people being reported.”

The AGFC’s radio room is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to receive calls about poaching. They can inform a local officer, who will get back in touch with the contact.

“We keep all sources anonymous if they wish, and we do offer rewards of up to $1,000 for information leading the arrest of some violators,” Parker said.

If someone doesn’t want to talk over the phone, they still can report a violation anonymously, using the AGFC’s Text a Tip service. To send the anonymous tip via text message, text “AGFC,” followed by the tip to TIP411 (847411). You will then receive a thank-you text acknowledging that the text has been received. CitizenObserver, the TIP411 provider, uses technology that removes all identifying information before the AGFC receives the text so that the AGFC cannot identify the sender.

Read the story from KAIT-TV