Palestine residents can now subscribe to receive area-specific safety alerts from local law enforcement, as well as report anonymous information through the Palestine Alert Network, a new initiative of the Palestine Police Department.
The program will offer community members an interactive way to stay connected and informed through opt-in e-mail, text message and web-published public safety alerts. It also will enable anyone to report suspicious activities easily through a tip411 anonymous text messaging code.
Interested persons can sign up to receive alerts from the police department at www.cityofpalestinetx.com/tip411.php. Subscribers can then select the area(s) for which they wish to receive information, whether it's neighborhood-only or citywide.
“We've created a map with several subdistricts in there, and they would sign up under their subdistrict,” Lt. Jeffrey Powell, Palestine Police Department Patrol Commander, said.
While not a replacement for dialing 911 in an emergency, Powell said the new technology will allow interested persons to communicate potentially helpful information.
“I tested it myself live, right now,” Powell told the Herald-Press Monday. “It will send from your cell phone any information you want to give, and we manage those tips and can have two-way communication back and forth with the tipster.”
Persons can send letters “PALPD” and their tip to 847411 (tip411). When police receive the message, they can respond to the tipster, but all communication remains anonymous, unless the individual decides to include contact information.
Powell said the Palestine Police Department has no way to access the identity of the individual reporting the information. He said the program is “better than Crime Stoppers, which is a one-time deal,” not allowing for any communication between law enforcement and volunteers.
Citizens may also submit anonymous web tips by clicking on “Web Tip.” “And that takes you to a webpage,” Powell said, where community members can follow instructions to leave their tip in the system anonymously via the Web.