Safety is a top priority at Hebron Schools. Thanks to Kankakee Valley REMC’s Operation Round Up, Hebron now has one more way to help their students feel safe. The company awarded the a grant school to help cover the costs of an anonymous tip line.
The Hebron Tip411 app allows students to report concerns to administrators and school resource officers without the worry of retaliation. Hebron Middle School Principal Jeff Brooks says, “This empowers students to have a voice in keeping their school a safe place.” Students can send a message through the app or simply text their concerns. The app also allows them to include images and video.
Since the launch in late August, staff and administrators have received over 20 reports that have enabled them to be proactive in preventing student concerns from becoming serious events. Reports on potential bullying, fighting, vaping, drug use, and student welfare are just a few of the tips that have been received by administrators.
“Over half of our tips have included photos or screenshots of the issue being reported,” School Safety Director, Mike Grennes says. The photos and screenshots give administrators an advantage in determining how to track down and handle these concerns.
It’s a “crime stoppers” program for outdoor sports, issuing rewards for tips related to wildlife offenses. Louisiana Operation Game Thief awarded $3,950 to tipsters across the state at its quarterly meeting on Oct. 2.
LOGT was instituted in 1984 and provides cash rewards for information leading to the arrest of violators of fish and wildlife regulations.
Funds are raised through private donations, court directed contributions and through contributions from cooperative endeavor agreements with organizations such as the National Wild Turkey Federation and Quality Deer Management Association.
Recently, the LOGT board reviewed 12 cases that included public tips from informants. A total of 27 subjects were apprehended and 62 offenses were written for offenses related to deer, migratory game bird, alligator, oyster and fishing cases.
Anyone wishing to report wildlife or fisheries violations — and remain anonymous — should call LDWF’s 24-hour toll free Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511 or utilize LDWF’s tip411 program. To use the tip411 program, tipsters can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the “LADWF Tips” iPhone and Android apps.
The Abbeville Police Department has rolled out a new app to aid in fighting crime.
According to the department, the app, Tip 411, will help residents connect with police to find information, view alerts, and submit anonymous tips from their smartphones and devices.
“Only together, can we keep Abbeville safe,” said Chief William Spearman of the Abbeville Police Department. “Working together, we are more likely to make lasting improvements in the safety of our community, I believe the new Abbeville PD app from tip411 will help better connect our department to our residents.”
The new app, according to officials will enable the public to share an anonymous tip with police and let officers respond back to create an anonymous two-way conversation. Residents without a smartphone can share information with police by sending an anonymous text tip via their cell phone to police by texting keyword APDTIPS and their message/tip to 847411 (tip411).
The Abbeville PD app is available for download for free via the Google Play Store, iTunes App Store, by visiting the Abbeville Police Department website at www.abbevillepd.com, or the official Abbeville PD Facebook page .
Fridley police have seen an increase in “quality of life” reports since implementing a tip app for smartphones about a year ago, according to Fridley police Capt. Ryan George.
The free app, Tip411, allows people to submit tips to the Police Department completely anonymously. Tip411 was funded in partnership with Fridley Public Schools.
The quality of life tips may be notifying the police of a noisy neighbor or parking problems.
“It seems to be things that are close to the tipsters’ house, so I can see why somebody wouldn’t want to call 911 on their neighbors and give a name and address and all that stuff,” George said. “So we’ve really seen an uptick in those tips lately.”
For those fearing repercussions from calling the police Tip411 can provide peace of mind, according to George.
“They don’t have to live in fear that their neighbor’s going to find out they called 911,” George said. “It’s 100% anonymous. We can’t figure out who the tipster is, even if we try to subpoena the company or get a search warrant for the records. They don’t have it.”
The only people seeing the tip through the app are Fridley Police staff, he said. Staff can engage in dialogue with tipsters to get more details if necessary.
Tip411 has been useful during times when police ask for the public’s help identifying someone or with anything related to a crime, George said. Users can send police any information they have through the app.
The anonymous app is useful for Fridley students as well, George said. If students hear a classmate threatening to hurt themselves or other people, they could anonymously report those threats to the police through the app.
Fridley Public Schools initially wanted to collaborate with the Police Department a few years ago, Fridley Public Schools director of communications and community relations Jael McLemore said.
“Tragic events can be prevented if they are reported to law enforcement ahead of time, and resources such as (Tip411) provide an additional layer to regular reporting channels, such as 911, that community members can use,” McLemore said.
In addition to the Tip411 app, she said, students have access to counselors and other school staff members if anything needs to be reported to keep schools safe.
“We really don’t want to miss an opportunity to partner if that helps enhance safety, if that helps increase security for our staff, our students and our buildings,” McLemore said.
Police are able to push notifications out to people’s phones as well. If there’s a street blocked off or an accident to report, police can tell the community through the app, so users are in the know if there are any major incidents.
Fridley residents can download the app through their phones’ app stores by searching Fridley PD Tip411.
Students of the Waxahachie Independent School District can now anonymously report suspicious activities using their cellphones.
tip411 allows students, staff, parents and the wider community to ” to share important safety information anonymously with district and campus administrators by sending them secure messages with information about bullying, drug use, and suspicious or potentially criminal activity via a free smartphone app,” according to a Friday press release.
“When a tip comes in, it will go to the campus administrator, our district head of security, our superintendent and the executive director of secondary or elementary learning, depending on if the tip is for an elementary or secondary campus,” District Spokesperson Jenny Bridges said.
The Waxahachie ISD says the free mobile app allows students and staff to play a role in keeping their schools safe without fear of retribution.
“Waxahachie ISD students excel in every area, from academics to fine arts to athletics and more,” said Dr. Bonny Cain, Waxahachie ISD Superintendent. “But our students can’t achieve if they don’t feel safe, and we believe the tip411 anonymous reporting system will add another level of safety and security to our campuses.”
The launch comes on the heels of an incident at Midlothian High School on Sept. 6 where the school went into lockdown after two students reported to staff what the District called “a possible threat.” The lockdown lasted several hours while police, dressed in combat gear and carrying heavy machinery, combed the building.
“We always encourage our students if they see or hear something to say something,” said Midlothian Independent School District Superintendent Lane Ledbetter in a statement posted on Facebook hours after the lockdown was lifted. “These two students did just that – reported what they thought they saw and heard.”
“After a long and thorough investigation, the Midlothian Police Department deemed the threat was unsubstantiated,” Ledbetter added.
tip411 is already being used by schools, police departments and community groups across the country. Critics of the app, however, say the system might become overwhelmed with frivolous tips that will take away the attention of investigators from serious incidents.
“The tip411 system has been successful in communities across the U.S.,” said Terry Halsch, president of tip411, in the release. “We are excited to work with Waxahachie ISD to bring our innovative app and text a tip system to connect and engage students directly to participate in promoting safety in their halls.”
Those without the app can still text anonymously by sending a message to 847411, beginning with a keyword linked to the school they are reporting about.
tip411 interviewed Captain Mark O’Toole of the Lynn, Massachusetts Police Department.
Q: Tell us about Lynn and your department (how many residents, how many sworn, etc.).
A: The City of Lynn is the ninth largest city in Massachusetts with a population of approximately 93,000 but likely another 10,000 undocumented persons. We are 10.4 square miles and have been accumulating “city problems” over the years. We’re one city away from Boston but have a lot of the same issues they do, just on a smaller level. Our department has shrunk from almost 200 sworn down to about 165. Crime is going down in terms of the index numbers, but the calls for service have not decreased. We run the gambit on all crimes including robbery, car breaks, larceny, and housebreaks.
Q: Why did you decide to bring tip411 to Lynn?
A: Over the years we’ve seen a mindset among the population of not wanting to get involved and not wanting to cooperate. We found tip411 to be a conduit to get information while allowing people to remain anonymous. As technology gets better, more and more people in our community communicate via text. We wanted to tap into that rather than making people pick up a phone and call. The custom app tip411 built for us is making a huge difference in getting tips as well.
Q: Anything you would tell other agencies considering tip411?
A: We’re absolutely getting tips we wouldn’t have gotten without this system. It’s a great asset for our department. It gets us into the younger, tech savvy generation. Once they send us a tip, it’s out there, and they can’t take it back. The two-way communication is great because we can ask questions and many people respond back with more information so we can deploy our resources. Tip411 has been a huge help to our people. Unlike our anonymous phone tip line where we can’t ask that next question to get more information, we can and do with tip411. Almost everyone has a cell phone, they can take pictures and send things to you and they do, and it’s instant. If you can get them to tip you on some stuff, you can get them to tip you on bigger, more important stuff, too. tip411 has been a great investment for us in terms of gaining information and communicating with our public. If you’re not on it, you’re missing out on the opportunity for some really great information to help solve crimes.
Q: Any notable tips/arrests credited to tip411 that come to mind?
A: On March 21stwe got a tip about a Level 3 Sex Offender that was living in our community near an elementary school. The subject was confirmed as unregistered in our city as required, more investigation was done and charges were filed for failure to register. This is the type of thing we want to know, and we were able to take action as a result of the tip. We have a wide variety of crimes, and when our PIO sends something out to the newspapers, on Twitter, and on Facebook, we always put the tip411 information on it. We include video stills when we can, and we get a fair amount of tips that lead us to who the person or persons are.
Q: Any success working with other jurisdictions through tip411?
A: We received a tip not long ago about a guy wanted on a sexual assault crime. The tipster told us he was living at an address in Pensacola, Florida, and we reached out to Pensacola PD and they were able to apprehend the guy.
Q: How is tip411 administered in your department (responsibilities, protocols, etc.)?
A: Tips come in to the patrol division and the commanding officer is responsible for monitoring them. There are several other people in the department, including myself, who have access to the tips and can monitor them on their phone in case it’s something that needs immediate action. For example, we’ve had complaints of children possibly being neglected and it comes through and patrol has gone right out and done checks on the addresses and acted swiftly when required.
Q: What have you done to brand and promote the tip411 system in Lynn to make your residents aware of it?
A: We promote tip411 through our website, with community groups, and include the tip411 information on anything we’re asking for the public’s assistance on. We have business cards with our tip411 information on them as well that we hand out to community members.We have some vice situations that I’m concerned could turn violent, so I’m working on a campaign to reach out to that at-risk community specifically with information about tip411 and how they can share information with us to protect their and others’ safety anonymously without having to identify themselves.
Q: Have you noticed an increase in the number of tips your department is receiving and cases you are solving since implementing tip411?
A: I just looked at the numbers and since we began partnering with tip411 in 2014, we’ve gotten over 3,000 tips. We love the feature of the two-way communication and people being allowed to include photo/video tips. The vast majority we receive are about narcotics activity, and I’ll frequently respond back to the tipster asking for more information. We do get information back that has resulted in very successful investigations. These types of successful investigations can be directly attributed to the tip411 service.
Q: What types of tips/situations have you seen tip411 be most useful for in Lynn?
A: A good thing about the texts is that they can’t take it back. Sometimes people reach out with information in the heat of the moment while they’re angry or upset, and we have that information in digital form. tip411 is definitely useful for narcotics and for vice crimes as well.
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.
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