SPRINGFIELD — Effingham County’s security blanket has been extended considerably.
The Effingham County Sheriff’s Office and Effingham County School District have increased their crime-fighting arsenal with a new app that helps residents connect with their departments to find information, view alerts and submit anonymous tips from their smartphone.
Developed by tip411, the app puts a powerful crime-fighting tool into the hands of community members of all ages. It is available for download for free via the Google Play Store, iTunes App Store or by visiting the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office website at www.effinghamsheriff.org or the school district website at www.effinghamschools.com.
“There are a lot of other eyes and ears out there other than just law enforcement that give us information,” Sheriff Jimmie McDuffie said during a Jan. 9 news conference at his office.
McDuffie explained that he worked with Assistant Superintendent Dr. Yancy Ford of the school district to capitalize on citizens willing to help defuse trouble before it starts. Tip411 was a great way to make that happen, he said.
“It allows residents to not only submit tips, but access alerts,” the sheriff said. “We have a crime-mapping program that is on it. When we do any alerts, they will go out on the tip411 program as well as Facebook and Twitter.
“We are happy and excited to be able to do this.”
Ford said the tip411 was instrumental in quelling a few situations since it was implemented in November.
“I was a high school principal for 11 years and many times whenever information came to me concerning something going on in my school or the school district it usually came from a student that trusted us and believed that we were going to be able to help keep our school safe,” Ford said. “What this particular app does is allow students, community members and parents to provide anonymous tips and parents to the school district and school resource deputies — whether it is something dealing with bullying, drugs, illegal activity that is going on in the school system or even illegal activity that is going on in throughout the community.
“That communication between us and the sheriff’s office allows us to be one and our partner so that we can keep our schools safe.”
The tip411 anonymous text system removes all identifying information before deputies or school officials see the tips and there is no way to identify the sender.
Residents in Effingham County without a smartphone are able to send an anonymous text tip via their cell phone to deputies by texting keyword ECSO and their message/tip to 847411 (tip411). Anonymous web tips can also be submitted through www.effinghamsheriff.org.