Posted 12/01/15 (Tue)
By Amy Robinson
Farmer Staff Writer
You are on your way home from dinner and you see the car in front of you dangerously swerving into the oncoming lane of traffic. It doesn’t happen once - it happens several times. While your spouse is driving, you decide you need to report this driver before they hit someone or worse, kill someone. Well, now you can report a crime or suspicion of a crime via the Watford City Police Department’s new ‘Text to Tip’ app - WCPDTip.
The new smart phone app was developed by tip411 and is available through the iTunes Store for iPhone users and the Google Play Store for Android users. Look for WCPDTip in the app store.
This free app will allow members of the community to report anonymously on criminal activity or suspicious activity in Watford City. Like the existing tip411, anonymous text to tip system, residents will be able to provide information to the police department. The ‘Text to Tip’ system can be used without the app by texting WCPDTip and the message/tip to 847411 (tip411). This app is easy to use and will provide another avenue for the public to communicate information to the Police Department.
“As of today, people can now anonymously submit a tip,” stated Art Walgren, Watford City chief of police. “The app has links to call 911, connect to the Facebook page, submit a tip, or view your own tips. Once you submit a tip, you pick the agency, subject, location, and details of the tip being submitted. People can also submit videos and pictures.”
Once the tip has been submitted, it goes into a computer system and then is sent to the police department. What is unique about this new ‘Text to Tip’ system is that law enforcement officers can communicate back and forth with the anonymous tipster. Once the message comes in, an officer is assigned to follow up on the tip.
Through the app, citizens will be able to correspond with department administrators regarding the activity, and will be able to provide the following information: What/Subject, Where/Location, and Details/Description. There is also the ability to add attachments to the file including photographs and videos.
According to Walgen, the new system also comes with mapping software so officers can put a pin on the map to show where the particular problem is located.
According to Walgren, a link through the Watford City Police Department Facebook page is also being developed. The Facebook app will give users the option to sign up for the notification system. Once signed up, users can be notified anytime law enforcement feels the need to inform the public of any situation that is necessary, such as a broken water main or advisory of a suspicious person.
“This system has been successful in communities across the United States,” said Terry Halsch, president of tip411. “Departments have been helped tremendously by members of the public who have sent anonymous messages to police with important information that often leads to arrests.”
Anyone with questions regarding the app can call the Watford City Police Department at 701-842-2280.
“We are excited to have this new tool,” stated Walgren. “And I hope the community will embrace it and utilize it for helping us to fight crime in our community.”