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

Ascension Parish Sheriff Cruiser

“If you use it correctly…it will work for your agency and community.”

tip411 interviewed Public Information Officer Allison Hudson of the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana.

Q: How has the tip411 system aided your agency?
A: It’s been a great tool for residents to have another way to submit tips and our’s is used a lot. With tip411, if they want to reach us anonymously, they can. We’ve done several programs through tip411, like a few years ago when we were having a string of pharmacy break-ins, we met with them and signed them up on tip411 to share information. Another way is we’ve used tip411 in our school system for bullying.

Q: Any notable tips/arrests credited to tip411 that come to mind?
A: We had a homicide in 2014 that was a 16 year old kid who went missing and we received a tip from someone who noticed some similarities with a known person. Long story short he provided information to help us solve the crime and he and others were arrested in conjunction with the homicide.

Q: Tell us about your community, agency, and how you heard about tip411?
A: We have about 120,000 people in the parish, with 350 employees at the Sheriff’s Office.We heard about tip411, did a free demo, and we signed up from there.

Q: How is tip411 administered in your department (responsibilities, protocols, etc.)?
A:  I monitor all of the tips and the 24/7 dispatch center monitors them outside of normal business hours. All of our lieutenants and captains have access to these tips as well. If we’re working a homicide, a detective will be assigned to checking those tips real-time. Every division head has access and are responsible for checking and responding to tips and they send me an email to let me know if a tip can be closed out or not. I keep a list of how many cases are solved based on tips that are received. We also have a School Security Division and the lieutenant checks those tips and will send it to the officers stationed in schools if tips pertain to their school.

Q: What have you done to brand and promote the tip411 system in your community to make your residents aware of it?
A: Related to use in schools for bullying, we made it so every computer’s first screen when students login is about reporting a tip using tip411. It has the number and instructions on how to do it. We’ve also done billboards, advertising in the newspaper, digital ads, etc. for people to submit a tip. We also use and have success with CrimeStoppers and we have a card we give out to residents at community police events, during violent crimes, or anything that we might be looking for related to crime in neighborhoods, and one side has the tip411 information and the other side has CrimeStoppers. It definitely has worked. We also share information on our social media channels and in every press release I send out about a crime, I put information about how to submit tips through tip411.

Q: Have you noticed an increase in the number of tips your agency is receiving and cases you are solving since implementing tip411?
A: We get two types of tips – narcotics tips and bullying tips. Narcotics tips are pretty steady, but when I put out warrant alerts in the newspaper, we see a jump. I see about a 98% rate for tips when I put out information about Narcotics warrants. Bullying tips pickup at the beginning of school, over breaks, and at the end of the year.

Q: Can you tell me more about your success with tip411 in schools?
A: We’ve had several tips where students share information about threats and our crisis response team goes to the schools and arrests are made. We get screenshots of Snapchats, Instagram messages/posts, things we would never find without tip411. School administrators and staff see it as useful and teachers have used tip411 to share information as well. We talk to the student body about how to use it at assemblies, what it’s used for, not to use it incorrectly and what the consequences are. We have cards specifically made for students to explain to them, in a simple way, how to use tip411.

Q: Any advice for other agencies considering tip411?
A: I think it’s a good tool to use. We found that people really do just want to submit information and remain anonymous. If you use it correctly – if you go through the webinars, and the trainings, and actually get officers and businesses involved, get residents signed up – it will work for your agency and community.

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.

McFarland Police Department Send Anonymous Tips

McFarland Police roll out tip411 program

Local residents who want to supply a tip to the McFarland Police Department have another option for doing so as the TIP411 system launched June 3.

McFarland Police Chief Craig Sherven said the program provides another avenue for people to provide information. During the last few years, the department has seen people moving away from traditional means of providing law enforcement with tips, such as phone calls, and preferring to use social media including Facebook.

“The problem with that is that we aren’t always monitoring Facebook, and sometimes miss out on this type of information. TIP411 alerts staff anytime new information is posted,” Sherven said.

The program is meant to be used as a quick, real time way of anonymously offering tip information to the police that does not need to have an immediate response from an officer, the chief said.

There are three ways for people to submit information to TIP411 – text message, a link on the McFarland Police Department’s website, and a smartphone app developed specifically for the local police. Sherven said police staff are alerted to the tip through a variety of ways.

To text a tip to the department using text, send the keyword MCFPD and the information to 847477. The app can be downloaded onto an Android or iPhone by searching McFarland PD in the app store. The direct link is www.tip411.com/tips/new?alert_group_id=21964.

Sherven stressed the system is not a means to report an incident in progress and needing immediate assistance or filing a police report.

The police chief said while TIP411 is intended for people to provide anonymous information to local law enforcement, people who have downloaded the app are also able to receive information pushed out from the McFarland Police Department.

More information on the program can be found online at www.mcfarland.wi.us/police.

“My hope is that the addition of this service will promote good communications and information sharing between us and the public,” Sherven said. “Like any other kind of service industry, we need to adapt to technology in order to effectively serve the public.”

Read the story from HNGNews.com