Submitted by Deputy Cocha Heyden, Public Information Officer
Douglas County Sheriff’s Office
303-660-7586, pgr 303-826-7822
Whei Wong, Communications Director
Douglas County School District,
Douglas County Sheriff and School District Launching New Texting Program in High Schools
Douglas County Sheriff David A. Weaver and Superintendent of Schools Jim Christensen are proud to announce the implementation of a new and innovative Youth Education Safety in Schools program called Text-A-Tip. In keeping with the commitment to our community and youth safety, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office in cooperation with the Douglas County School District, Parker and Castle Rock Police Departments, is enthusiastic about this new program that will allow our high school students in Douglas County the ability to send text messages via their cell phone directly to the Douglas County Schools and the Sheriff’s Office on matters of student and school safety.
The Text–A-Tip program, which utilizes the same technology as Crime Stoppers, allows a student to send a text message in real time to the Douglas County Schools and local law enforcement on important school concerns such as in progress criminal events, for example a fight, information that a student may be suicidal, or that suspicious individuals are on school property. Other areas include weapons at school, or information about drugs or alcohol. A variety of other safety related topics in addition to those discussed are just some of the topics where the Text-A-Tip program could be used to notify school and law enforcement personnel.
The process of texting a tip through the Text-A-Tip program is very simple. Each Douglas County School District high school has been assigned a keyword for use in the Text-A-Tip program. The student who was sending the text would then type in the access number or dial it from their programmed phone list.
Once a message has been received, the dispatcher that is handling the text message has the ability to communicate or text “chat” with the student in order to gain needed information regarding the incident. The school dispatcher will then contact the appropriate resources, which may include Law Enforcement, Fire Personnel and/or School administration to effectively and safely handle the situation.
Individuals should still use 911 when reporting an emergency! The use of the Text-A-Tip program is intended for reporting non-emergent circumstances. If it is not safe to call 911 then it would be appropriate to use Text-A-Tip.
At this time, the Text-A-Tip program, which is effective April 7, 2009, will only be utilized with high school students. This service provides students with anonymity and provides teens one more tool to help keep themselves and their school environments safe. It provides an avenue of sharing information with law enforcement that has the potential to save lives. This program should be treated with respect. Prank tips will not be tolerated, and false reporting is a criminal offense.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is proud to be the first Law Enforcement agency in the State of Colorado to bring The Text-A-Tip program into the schools in partnership with the Douglas County School District.