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Kentucky State Police has implemented a text-tip line that allows the public to send confidential tips via cellphones.
According to a news release, a cellphone user with texting capabilities can text 67283, type KSPTIP in the message field and leave a space before entering information about a crime.
Norman Chaffins, spokesman for KSP Post 4 in Elizabethtown, said information in the text message goes through a third-party server where it’s encrypted and personal information removed.
Potential tipsters often are reluctant to leave their names with the police for reasons such as family involvement or fear of retaliation, he said.
Chaffins warned when it comes to an emergency, such as a wreck or a crime in progress, 911 is the number to call.
“There’s a line there,” he said. “Any call that needs immediate response should go through 911.”
Though KSP’s text-tip line is new, law enforcement agencies in the county frequently use tips from the public, whether from a phone line, email or social networking site.
“We look a lot to the community’s help,” said Bryce Shumate, Radcliff Police Department spokesman. “We cannot solve crimes completely by ourselves.”
Virgil Willoughby, Elizabethtown Police Department spokesman, said residents can call Hardin County Crime Stoppers with information about crime in the county. The (800) 597-8123 number allows for anonymity, and information leading to a conviction results in a cash payment, he said.
Once a tip is received, Willoughby said it is reviewed and forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
Shumate said Radcliff has a tips phone line and receives information on its Facebook account. Both platforms permit confidential tips if the tipster requests anonymity.
RPD officials sift through each tip to determine its legitimacy before passing it along to a patrol officer or detective, he said.
“The majority have been legitimate tips or ones that lead us to more information,” Shumate said.
In some instances, he said, tips provide information about ongoing problems the police aren’t yet aware of.
Greg Lowe, Hardin County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said the sheriff’s office does not have a dedicated tip line but still receives phone calls from residents with information to offer.
Occasionally, the office receives vague tips or information from residents with “ulterior motives,” he said.
“We have to filter that the best we can,” Lowe said. “We still need to look into it.”
Asked what investigations particularly benefit from community response, he said “virtually everything,” but specifically listed burglaries, criminal mischief cases, automobile thefts, failures to appear and bail jumping cases.
Sarah Bennettcan be reached at (270) 505-1750 or firstname.lastname@example.org.