WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) -- The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office rolls out its new Text 2 Tip program.
When the Winnebago County Sherriff’s Office receives a message through its new app, TipWSCO, deputies don't know who it’s from, and that's ok.
"It follows the same concept of Crime Stoppers in that we protect the identify of those people. We don't know the information," says Winnebago County Sheriff Dick Meyers.
The program blocks personal information, including phone number. That way, users feel comfortable enough to download the free app and send in their tips.
“People standing in a crowd may not want to go over and talk to a detective, but they can actually while they are standing there in the crowd, be texting on their phone like everyone else is but they could be texting to the tip 411 program," says Chief Deputy Kurt Ditzler.
Deputies hope that by offering this app, a younger generation of smartphone users will step up to fight crime in their neighborhoods. The program is monitored 24/7 to make sure valuable information gets to detectives as quickly as possible.
"I’ve been here a long time and we've handled just tons and tons of serious crimes, a lot of homicides and every single one of them have one thing in common: there is somebody out there who knows something that is valuable to that investigation and what this does is provide them yet another avenue to communicate that information with law enforcement."
Witnesses will be reminded of the text to tip's info; it's now printed on all crime scene tape in Winnebago County
If you don't have a smart-phone, just text "TIPWSCO" and your information to 8-4-7-4-1-1. Tips can also be submitted on the sheriff's office website by clicking on the "Txt2Tip" phone icon on the homepage.