DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Residents in Piscataquis County and Dexter are now able to provide police with anonymous tips through texting or by using an application on their cellphones.
The Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department and police departments in Dover-Foxcroft, Greenville, Brownville, Milo and Dexter have collaborated with the Piscataquis Public Health Council, Healthy Maine Partnership and Public Engine, the phone application designer, to launch the anonymous tip program. The program is funded by the Maine Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services.
When a tip is sent, it triggers a live exchange with a police dispatcher. The dispatcher asks for details about the location of the violation, but the name and telephone number of the person giving the tip remain anonymous to the dispatcher.
To submit a tip through text message, citizens text 274637 or “CRIMES” on their cellphone. Then type the word “Penquis” and then leave the tip in the message. It can be used to give a tip about any crime, from underage drinking to homicide.
Tips also can be left by downloading the TipSubmit Mobile app for iPhone and Android devices. The Dover-Foxcroft Police Department has a link on its Facebook page to leave tips as well.
“It gives people a safe way to protect themselves from anything dangerous,” said Piscataquis Public Health Council spokeswoman Lisa Kingsbury. “No one knows who did it. That’s what we’re trying for.”
Kingsbury said the program will officially launch on March 1, but it is available to use now.
Other agencies in Maine are using a similar system, including the Portland Police Department, Communities Against Substance Abuse, based in Brunswick, and the Casco Bay CAN Coalition, a youth substance abuse prevention center.
Kingsbury said a radio campaign about the eTip service will begin on March 4, and flyers about the service will be sent home with area schoolchildren.