The Blaine County Sheriff's Office has launched a new program to receive anonymous crime tips from citizens.
According to a news release, the TIP411 program "provides endless opportunities for enhancing the overall safety of our community and is 100 percent anonymous."
People with information can report it to the sheriff's office through the program via cell phone or computer. By cell phone, text the word BCSOTIP along with the tip information and send it to 847411 (tip411).
Using the Internet, connect to the sheriff's office website at www.blainesheriff.com and access the "submit a tip" link.
The information provided by either method is routed through Citizen Observer, a company in St. Paul, Minn., that guarantees "all identifying information" will be scrubbed from the message before it goes to the sheriff's office "so there's no way to identify the sender."
Citizen Observer provides the service throughout the United States, not only to law enforcement but also to schools and other entities with whom someone with information might desire anonymity.
"When someone feels afraid to come forward, or simply feels like they don't want to get involved, this can be a great way to pass information on without fear of retribution," Sheriff Walt Femling said.
The news release describes the program as a "powerful new crime fighting tool" that can be used to anonymously report "information pertaining to new, current or cold cases, local criminal activities, suicidal or at-risk individuals or other care-taking community services."
"We're proud to be part of a national program that benefits over 1,000 communities around the country," Femling said. "This new capability will help our citizens play an active role in keeping neighborhoods safer, it will engage a younger demographic in the process and it will save our agency time and resources."
Terry Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org