Text 2 Tip Program Helping Catch Criminals

WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) -- Dozens of felons are behind bars and deputies say their arrests are all thanks to us and our cell phones.

The chime of a text message is a welcome sound for Winnebago County Sheriff’s Deputies. It means another tip through the Text 2 Tip app.

"Just going through the page that I have here, you go to the first one and its, the first one on the list is a person wanted on a serious warrant. The second one is a place where they're dealing drugs, the third is a stolen car that happened a year ago," Winnebago County Sheriff Dick Meyers, said.

Hundreds of tips, most for serious crimes, are pouring into the Sheriff's Department. Since the app launched last July deputies have gotten nearly one thousand tips through text messages; that’s more than three a day.

"It's a simple thing. It's a means for somebody to communicate with police anonymously and pass on information of concern," Sheriff Meyers said.

Deputies don't know who sends the text, but they can hold a conversation with the tipster. Sheriff Dick Meyers says that helps deputies get more in-depth information to catch more criminals.

The sheriff’s department is one of 12-hundred law enforcement agencies that use the program designed by citizen observer. As it continues to spread across the country the program could make calling in tips obsolete.

"You're going to see this solution continue to replace the phone numbers that are still being used by law enforcement around the country, so this type of capability will continue to give people more mobility if you will as far as being able to provide tips," Citizen Observer President Terry Halsch said.

To get the app just search for TipWCSO in the app store. We can also just use regular text messages by sending TIPWCSO to TIP-411.

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