Smith County Sheriff's Office launches anonymous crime tip texting and alert program

Smith County Sheriff's Department:

UPDATE: SMITH COUNTY (KYTX) - Keeping his campaign promise to hold regular news conferences, today, Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith held his first press event and Q&A session since taking office January 1.

​With members of the media gathered at the Smith County Sheriff's Office, Smith discussed putting more deputies on the street, cost-saving efforts, his commitment to transparency, arrests, and his plans for the future.

​"When I was campaigning, I outlined many changes that I felt needed to take place to improve the way the Sheriff's Office operates. One of those changes was providing more transparency and scheduling meetings with the news media to give them the opportunity to ask me questions directly," said Sheriff Smith. "Since January 1 when I took office, changes have been implemented that have significantly improved how we serve the citizens of Smith County."

​During his news conference, Smith discussed the new 12-hour patrol shifts that put more deputies on the streets. He said that many deputies were now being trained in crime scene investigation techniques, including crime scene photography, fingerprinting, processing tire and shoe print impressions and collecting DNA evidence.

​Another of Smith's campaign promises was to find more efficient ways to spend tax dollars while improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the Sheriff's Office.

​One of the first cost-saving measures he implemented happened immediately after he took office. Smith changed vendors and modified the design for striping and applying Sheriff's Office markings to new vehicles.

​The new vendor and design change, coordinated through Wagner Cadillac in Tyler, dropped the cost per vehicle from $2,700 to $500. The previous design will be phased out as older vehicles are retired.

​Smith also discussed the addition of a public information officer (PIO), a position that is necessary to get information out to the public. John Moore, who for 13 years served as PIO for Trinity Mother Frances, was hired for the new position in February. Moore now proactively provides the media with information and updates, and is available to answer questions as events happen.

​Numerous high-profile arrests have been made since Smith took office, including individuals who were charged with murder, sexual assault of a child, a Smith County Sheriff's Office Jail Corporal who was charged with aggravated assault and the arrest of a Smith County adult probation officer who is accused of injury to a child.

​Smith reiterated his commitment to transparency and asked the news media to provide input on how his office could better serve their needs in disseminating information to the public. He said he plans to have media updates monthly, either in person or via a news release.

​The Sheriff's Office also provides information through its Facebook page and its new Twitter account, @SmithCSO.

TYLER (KYTX) -- Tuesday, March 19, 2013 Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith announced the acquisition and launch of a new software program that allows citizens to anonymously send crime tips and receive alerts from the sheriff's office via the internet and their cell phone. The program has been purchased and will soon be implemented.

CitizenObserver tip411, an internet-based program that has proven effective in many major U.S. cities, teams citizens and law enforcement via a confidential and anonymous communication technology using the internet and text messaging.

The technology that powers tip411 removes all traces of a person's identity or contact information before the message or tip is delivered to department personnel.
"Someone may want to assist in preventing or helping solve a crime, but may have reasons for wanting to keep their identity private," said Sheriff Larry Smith. "tip411 allows anyone who has information to confidentially pass it on to the Sheriff's Office. Anyone with access to the internet or a cell phone can now send a tip to us by using a specific keyword and texting their information to tip411 (847411)."

Anonymous tips can also be submitted through the Sheriff's Office website.
Sheriff Smith said part of the new program includes The Smith County Alert Network, an opt-in alert messaging system that is available via email, text messaging or web-published notifications. Those who are interested in receiving the alerts can sign up by clicking on a link on the sheriff's office website. Subscribers can also respond to the sheriff's office anonymously by clicking on the Submit a Tip button located in the alert.

Reserved exclusively for public safety purposes, tip411 is a software service made available through CitizenObserver, a St. Paul, Minnesota company.


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