Chief Jared Mills of the Augusta, Maine Police Department speaks about the department’s new tip411 program and explains how, and why, residents should use it.
tip411 interviewed Chief Jim Howarth of the Delhi Township Police Department in Cincinnati, Ohio. This is the third and final part of our conversation.
Q: What have you done to promote your tip411 system to make sure residents know about it and use it?
A: We make sure our tip411 information is always posted on all of our social media sites, with links to sign up for alerts and submit tips.
In the beginning, we had business cards made up with tip411 information and officers would hand those out. Officers had them in their car and when they had an interaction with a resident, they’d hand them a card and introduce them to the tip411 program, tell them its free to use to send tips and to sign up for alerts. We still have cards but it was imperative in the beginning.
We really saw a jump with residents buying in to our tip411 efforts when local media starting putting the information on the news. That was as easy as sending out a press release and what’s nice now is they all buy-in to signing up for tip411 and, if they don’t, they know it’s pushed out through Facebook so local reporters are getting our alerts in real-time. They’ll call me right away saying they want to do a story, or sometimes now they won’t even contact me and I’ll see the alert on the news with the surveillance photos we put out. It’s great and helps us reach more residents.
Q: Any advice for other departments considering tip411?
A: Don’t hesitate. My biggest regret is waiting two years before I pulled the trigger to purchase tip411. I felt comfortable coming on board and the rest has been icing on the cake. Now I realize it is what I thought it was.
Any time it can help another agency and talk to them about tip411, I do. It’s not like I’m trying to sell it to them, but when I find a good product for a reasonable amount that helps me do my job better, I like to share that.
My advice is for other departments just to take a look at tip411 because once they do, the product sells itself.
tip411 interviewed Chief Jim Howarth of the Delhi Township Police Department in Cincinnati, Ohio. This is part one of our three-part conversation.
Q: Tell us about your community and the Delhi Township Police Department (how many residents, how many sworn, etc.).
A: Delhi Township covers 10.1 square miles and is just shy of 30,000 residents. Our department has 32 sworn officers and is open 8am-10pm each day. We are a “bedroom community” that sits on the Ohio River and borders the City of Cincinnati as well as Green Township, both of which use tip411 as well.
Being a suburb of Cincinnati, we deal with many big city crimes, just on a smaller scale. We have drug issues like most communities; we see domestic violence cases, car thefts, burglaries and robberies – Things that spill over from the city into our township. We don’t have much violent crime; averaging about one homicide every year or two.
We have an excellent relationship with the Cincinnati Police Department as well as the 47 other law enforcement agencies in Hamilton County. We rely on the Hamilton County Police Association for joint training exercises, joint SWAT Team operations, and more.
Q: How do you hear about tip411?
A: We launched tip411 in 2011. I had been researching it for a few years before we signed on as I wanted to do my due diligence, but I first heard through the Cincinnati Police Department when I saw them using it.
When I was researching possible systems to use here in Delhi Township, what I was looking for was something that would help me get information out to residents in a timely manner, but also something that would be affordable and easy to use. This was important because I did not want to have to spend time training officers on a system they found too complicated to use as part of their daily duties.
Right away, I saw what I could do with tip411.
Q: How is tip411 administered in your department (responsibilities, protocols, etc.)?
A: I put out alerts along with my investigative lieutenant. I use it for investigations but also for news sharing (promoting/hiring new staff, road closures, etc.) and all types of crimes.
All of my investigators receive tips as they come in and manage them to share information and communicate with the tipster to try to get more information.
To make sure our residents can find how to send us tips, we have links to our tip411 reporting form on our website, Facebook, and Twitter. We also use the Crime Map provided as part of our tip411 subscription to add share crime information with the public and allow people to submit tips through the information shown on the map.
We’re very fortunate as people in Delhi Township are willing to communicate with us to help fight crime, and even more people are now as they are less afraid due to being able to share information anonymously.
Did you know there are many ways to improve engagement with your community using tip411?
Step up to a tip411 Pro subscription to get access to all of the great features of tip411 Bundle, plus the new tip411 Mobile app. This innovate app allows you to create a customized, branded app for Android/iPhone that allows residents to send anonymous tips, access agency alerts, social media channels, important information, and more to help fight crime. Contact us for a quick demo.
“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.” – Major David Dalton, Clearwater, Florida Police