Stratford PD has new app for tips

The Stratford Police Department has rolled out a new app that it says will to help residents connect with the department to find information, view alerts, and submit anonymous tips from their smartphones.

Developed by police app developer tip411, the Stratford PD app “puts a powerful new crime-fighting tool into the hands of community members of all ages,” officials said. The Stratford PD app is available for download for free via the Google Play Store, iTunes App Store, or by visiting the Stratford Police Department website.

“Our mission is the preservation of public peace and order, the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension of offenders, and the protection of persons and property,” said Chief Joseph McNeil. “To achieve this goal, the department strives to gain and retain the confidence and respect of the public in such a way as to insure the welfare and betterment of the citizens of Stratford, and we believe our new app will help us better connect and engage with our residents.”

Read the full story from CTPost.

New crime tip line launched in Bennington County

A new tool will help put the power to fight crime in the palm of Bennington County residents’ hands.

An anonymous tip reporting program, powered by a free smartphone app, has been launched through the Bennington County Sheriff Department and The Collaborative. The app will help residents submit anonymous tips to law enforcement agencies, as well as receive alerts with their smartphone, according to Detective Sgt. Lloyd Dean.

Details of the new initiative were discussed at a press conference at the sheriff’s headquarters Monday morning. The free smartphone app is available for Android and iPhone mobile devices.

Dean said among the crimes the department and Collaborative are encouraging people to send tips for include burglaries, illegal drug activity, a party where underage youth are consuming alcohol, and bullying.

The initiative is one piece of a grant-funded partnership program to combat substance abuse, said Victoria Silsby with The Collaborative’s substance prevention program. The Collaborative is the lead organization for the five-year federally funded partnership program; funding is funneled from the state Department of Health.

“We think this county-wide approach sends a clear message that Bennington County is committed to reducing substance use and engages in substance use prevention initiatives,” she said.

Minnesota-based CitizenObserver created the tip411 tool, according to the company’s website. Law enforcement, schools, call centers and emergency management in over 1,000 communities use the company’s tools.

The app users should download here is called “BenningtonCo Sheriff” in the Android and iPhone app stores; it comes up with a search of “tip411 Bennington.” Once downloaded, a user can send a completely anonymous tip to an account that’s monitored through the sheriff’s department.

Read the full story from the Bennington Banner

Police turning to technology to increase connection with people they serve

The Pelham Police Department is turning to an innovative new app to connect with people, and the department believes it’s the first in the area to use it.

“The app just takes our community policing to the next level,” said Sgt. Brian Barbato of the Pelham Police Department.

The Pelham PD app launched earlier this month. Designed by the Citizen Observer Program, it sends instant alerts to users on emergencies, road closures and press releases.

“People have loved it so far. We’ve got a lot of positive feedback from it. People love the interaction with the police department. They love to know what’s going on in their community,” said Barbato.

It also allows people to sends tips directly to the police dispatcher.

“And you can have a back and forth conversation with that dispatcher and then he or she can relay that information to the officers working the road,” said Barbato.

“These tips that can come in through the app are completely anonymous. We don’t have any IP addresses attached to it,” added Lt. Anne Perriello of Pelham police.

Watch or read the full report from WMUR9 TV

Protecting the environment through your cell phone

The Department of Land and Natural Resources has released an app that allows you to make anonymous reports and tips to them. The app also allows you to post photos and videos. Also, unlike DLNR’s old answering machine where tips were not always documented, the app that launched today, stores it’s history.

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Watch the report from KITV, Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather – KITV Channel 4

Education Matters: No room for bullying in schools

…An important part of responding to bullying is to know when it is happening. Teachers and administrators are trained in the ‘4 A Response’, through PBIS, how to Affirm a student giving a report, Ask the right questions, Assess the report or threat, and Act on the information appropriately.

Students are provided ways to report bullying, including telling a trusted adult, using a paper method in the front office, or by using the Tip411 text or email app. While all students are encouraged to talk candidly with counselors, teachers, administrators, coaches or other adults they trust, many opt for more anonymous methods like Tip411.

The app is offered in partnership with Napa and American Canyon police departments and the Napa County Sheriff, and allows students to anonymously report bullying, suicide threats, crimes or other situations to school administrators and law enforcement, who can move quickly to investigate any unsafe incidents.

And, of course, we encourage parents to be vigilant for signs of bullying or bullying behavior, and to report concerns to a teacher and principal…

Read the full post from the Napa Valley Unified School District in the Napa Valley Register

Smartphone app helps fight crime in Crow Wing County

Smartphone apps have uses ranging from checking the weather to watching movies to reading about the latest breaking news, and everything in between. Now Crow Wing County residents can download an app that lets them send crime tips to the sheriff’s department and communicate with local law enforcement from anywhere while remaining anonymous.

Tip411 is a program that has been gaining popularity in the lakes area over the last eight months. After downloading the CWCS Mobile app on an iPhone or Android device, users can simply submit anonymous tips relating to any criminal or suspicious activity directly to the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office.

And that’s not all.

“The cool thing with this feature is people can still remain anonymous if they wish, but we’re allowed to communicate back with them. So that’s where we can add the additional questions,” said Capt. Scott Goddard, of the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office.

The app allows the investigator receiving the tips to respond to the tipster and ask follow-up questions.

“They’ll text us in something very vague, like, ‘Vehicles coming or going late at night from a residence,'” Goddard said. “And then our follow-up questions might be, ‘Well, can you give us descriptions of the vehicle?’ or ‘What times are the vehicles coming and going?'”

Read the full story from the Pineandlakes Echo Journal

Text through Cheektowaga’s tip411 results in two drug arrests

Two people were arrested on multiple drug charges Wednesday night after police received an anonymous tip through the department’s tip411 texting service.

The anonymous text was sent to the department around 7 p.m. saying that a car was parked on Oakwood Drive in the town’s South Line district and several people were smoking drugs.

“Officers Chris Wierzbowski and Mike Menth responded and found two people in the car and then discovered a baggie with crack cocaine at the feet of the occupants.  Further investigation led to the discovery of multiple envelopes of heroin, a crack pipe, and several hypodermic needles,” said James Speyer, Assistant Chief of Police.

Police arrested and charged Jessica Seiler, 22 of Tristan Lane, Williamsville and Dillon Butchart, 25 of Pleasant Ave, Depew with three counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of a Hypodermic Instrument.

Read the full story in the Cheektowaga Chronicle.

Interview with Delhi Township: Part III

tip411 interviewed Chief Jim Howarth of the Delhi Township Police Department in Cincinnati, Ohio. This is the third and final part of our conversation.

PART III

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.

 

Click here to read Part I and here for Part II of our conversation with Chief Howarth.

Interview with Delhi Township: Part II

tip411 interviewed Chief Jim Howarth of the Delhi Township Police Department in Cincinnati, Ohio. This is part two of our three-part conversation.

PART II

Q: How has the tip411 system aided your department?
A:
tip411 has been well received by both my officers and our residents. It’s one of the best things that have happened to us – We can’t be everywhere all the time, but we have 30,000 residents that have eyes that can help us find things. It could be that 1 tip or call that solves a string of burglaries, and we need our residents help as much as they need ours.

When I took over as Police Chief in 2008, others before me didn’t think they needed to share information with the public. I think people need to know things do happen in Delhi, when they happen, and not wait a week to see it in the paper. We need to inform the public and push information out to have them help us solve crimes as they are happening, and we are doing that now thanks to tip411.

Q: Any notable tips/arrests credited to tip411 that come to mind?
A:
When we put out surveillance pictures to try to identify who suspects are – whether it be for a theft, assault, armed robbery – there’s only 1 case I can remember where we’ve NEVER received any tips. All of the other hundreds of cases we’ve asked the public for help on we’ve received tips and were able to identify the suspect.

Literally within 5 minutes we’re getting tips with information. It’s tremendous as far as being able to recover property and hold criminals accountable.

One case I can remember was when we put out information after an elderly gentleman left his card in an ATM. We saw that the person that came to the ATM after him grabbed the card and then we traced that it was used at a nearby supermarket shortly thereafter. We put the suspect’s picture out around 7pm and 15 seconds later the clerk in my office asked me if I sent an alert. I told her I just hit send and she told me we had already received a tip from someone telling us they saw the alert, looked at the image, and realized it was a former coworker of theirs.

I don’t put out tons of stuff because I don’t want people to get tired of it, but I use it when we need to and it’s always been a great help. I also like to do follow up posts to let people know we were able to identify the suspect and solve a crime thanks to their help.

The only negative thing I’ve heard is…if we were to get rid of tip411, a lot of residents would be upset. Luckily, if we ever lost funding, I’m confident I could go to outside sourcing like business associations in our community because they love it and I’m sure they’d help us fund it.

Q: Your department also partners with Crime Stoppers. Can you talk about how you use Crime Stoppers and how tip411 can augment it?
A: They’re very similar in nature. Crime Stoppers give rewards out and for the most part tips that come through tip411 we don’t give out rewards. Sometimes while communicating back and forth through tip411 we realize the tipster may have good information but aren’t giving it up easy, so continue to get information we will say, “hey, if this pans out and we make an arrest, we will reach out to Crime Stoppers and get a reward for you.”

Most tips we get are coming in anonymously through tip411. I say anonymously but many people are comfortable putting their name and number in the message they send to us as well. More come through tip411 than via phone, but it’s a good mix.

Some people, I understand, are hesitant to contact police because they think there may be retribution for sharing information with us, but we have a community that wants to help and they do – dramatically. With tip411 there’s much less “us vs. them.” Residents now feel like they’re a part of the department.

 

Check back next week for the third and final part of our conversation with Chief Howarth. Missed Part I? Click here to read it.

Interview with Delhi Township: Part I

tip411 interviewed Chief Jim Howarth of the Delhi Township Police Department in Cincinnati, Ohio. This is part one of our three-part conversation.

PART I

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.

 

Check back next week for part II of our conversation with Chief Howarth.