Waldo County Police (Maine) believe that a new tip line will encourage teenagers to report any illegal activities. The tip line works by scrambling messages through a relay computer system. Users must text their tips with “wTip” at the beginning of the message. Then, they can send the message to the number 274637.
The program is part of a joint effort between the sheriff’s office, local police departments, and the Waldo County Regional Communications Center and Broadreach Family and Community Services. Deputy Nick Oettinger of the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office was quoted as saying “Nobody likes to be told on for doing something bad, but what it boils down to is us trying to keep people safe. It might give us that chance to prevent a crash or something like that. The goods outweigh the negatives. I think it’s a great thing. It just needs to take off a little bit.”
Police say that the line is untraceable and there is no way of tracking down who sent the anonymous tip. Waldo County created the hotline because of the success of another similar program in a Sagadahoc county. Police broke up a party where there was underage drinking and marijuana use. They heard about the party through the tip hotline. It was the second time in one month where police were able to shut down underage drinking because of an anonymous tip.
This is a great program for teenagers because it’s very subtle and there is now way for the sender to be tracked down. Teenagers who are worried about their friends will hopefully use this line if they believe their friends are engaging in illegal, dangerous activities.