Friday, June 5, 2020

Anonymous tip system helps keep community safe

The Windham Police Department is offering
a free app for smart phone users to report
crime tips anonymously. COURTESY PHOTO
By Elizabeth Richards

Windham residents now have access to a new tool to help keep their community safe. With the introduction of the new Windham PD App, developed by tip411, anonymous tips can be submitted via the app, text, or website.
The mission of the Windham Police Department is to provide the citizens of the town of Windham a safe, secure community in which the protection of life and property are the highest  priority,” said Kevin L. Schofield, Chief of Police, in a press release. “Making it easier for residents to connect with us to provide information is paramount to our efforts, and we believe our new tip411 system will help keep our community safe.”
The idea rose out of an old system that was in place years ago that centered around combatting underage drinking said Capt. William Andrew. With that system, someone could call and leave a tip about a party, or if someone needed help.
Managing that individually was difficult, Andrew said, so the department began to explore other platforms that were available to the general public.
The department received a grant from the Be The Influence coalition and partnered with tip411, which is also used by the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency as well as other Maine communities. few months of behind the scenes work was necessary before launching the app, such as development of apps for both Apple and android products; determining who would receive the tips; getting quotes for the cost of the service; and exploring the cost to include the school department as they develop an avenue for submitting school-related tips, which will be available at a later date. 
Tips submitted to the anonymous tip line will trigger an email alert that goes to specific members of the Windham police department. Tips will also be monitored as they are received by the dispatch center at Cumberland County Regional Communications Center. 
“Some tips don’t need immediate attention,” Andrew said.  Others need to be addressed right away.  The dispatch center will monitor incoming tips and triage the calls to determine if they need to be brought to the department’s attention immediately.”
Andrew said it’s important to know that the tip411 system does not take the place of dialing 9-1-1 in an emergency. In emergency situations, people should still use 911 so the department can get help to those who need it immediately.
The tip411 technology removes all identifying information before the police department receive the tips, making these communications completely anonymous. 
Tips can be sent from a smartphone using the free Windham PD app; by text message to 847411 by typing the keyword WPDTIPS, a space, and then the tip information before hitting send; or through the anonymous web tip form on the Windham PD website (, by clicking the tip411 logo.
The free Windham PD app can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store, the Google Play Store, or from the city website. <

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