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Sheriff's office launches phone app tip line

Sheriff's office launches phone app tip line

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The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office has a new tip line phone app that works with Android and Apple smartphones. The program is called “tip411.”

In a statement released Friday, Sheriff Mark Nelson said, “Citizens today are far more likely to text or email a tip than they are to make a phone call. ... This is technology that helps connect the sheriff’s office with our citizens in a different way, and will enable us to get timely, anonymous information on crimes in Cowlitz County.”

Nelson said public involvement is the best crime-fighting resource in Cowlitz County. He said he hopes callers will use the app to report suspicious activity, drug complaints, domestic violence or any other crime they see.

But the new app isn’t just for reporting crimes. Deputies also will be able to respond to reports with questions or comments.

Nelson said the new program will enhance, not replace, the existing Crime Stopper program, which still will run as a countywide program that sometimes offers rewards for tips called in.

Those concerned about reporting a crime and then having that information traced back to them need not worry. All reporting is anonymous, according to the sheriff’s office statement. The location where the tip information came from is scrambled, so it is virtually untraceable.

“Even if law enforcement were to ask the company for it, they couldn’t, and wouldn’t be able to retrieve it.” Nelson said.

The sheriff’s office is the only local agency offering this service. There are two ways to use tip411. County residents text their tip from their cellphone to 847411 and begin their message with “CCSOtip.” The other way is to download the free CCSOTip app to your phone.

Along with sending tips through the app, callers can choose to receive alerts from the sheriff’s office. Your cellphone provider’s text messaging fees will apply.

Nelson reminds callers that the new tip line is not for emergencies. In an emergency, call 911.

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