"Text-2-Tell" Program Starts in Jones County

By Addison Speck, Reporter

ANAMOSA, Iowa - It's an easier and anonymous way to report a crime. A simple text can now help keep people safe. On Wednesday, several Jones County organizations introduced its new "Text-2-Tell" program. It allows people to text tips about potential illegal activity to law enforcement.

"It's an everyday activity so people don't think it's weird if someone pulls their phone out," said Bill Feldmann of Anamosa. The program allows people to send anonymous text tips directly to a law enforcement dispatcher.

"I think it's a really great way to have students be able to text into the law enforcement without being like hey my friends are going to a party," said Emily Feldmann, Bill's daughter and an Anamosa High School student. The program is fairly easy to use, you just open a new text message on your phone. Then you put the word "crimes" or 274637 in the address section. In the message section of your text you put Jones, a plus sign, and then your tip. See the example below:

Jones + Suspicious person on 10th street.

Your phone number doesn't show up with your message.

"We will never be able to find out who they are because of how the system works and routes it through secure severs," said Monticello Police Chief Britt Smith. He said you can expect a response in just a few minutes. The response will come with a code, so if you want to check up on your tip in the future, you can. Though the tip doesn't give police authority to go and bust down a door, it can help them better investigate and patrol the community. "If it's suspicious to the people who know what the norm is, then that's something we ought to be checking on," said Bill Feldmann.

Next spring, Jones County leaders will evaluate if the program is worth the cost of 16 hundred dollars a year. Iowa City Area Crime Stoppers said they too are considering the text system but funding could be a challenge. Linn County put a similar program in place called "Text-a-Tip" back in March. Leaders told KCRG.com it has been very successful. They have received helpful tips in recent homicide cases, and have already offered one reward.

People can also submit a tip to Jones County online, at this link : https://www.tipsubmit.com/WebTips.aspx?AgencyID=362
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