Because police officers are often unable to know everything that is going on in the community, citizen participation in law enforcement and crime prevention is crucial. The Secret Witness Program is designed to provide a way for community members to become involved in crime prevention and resolution while remaining anonymous.
The Secret Witness Program relies on the anonymous tips of community members. When a citizen or visitor to the community becomes aware of criminal activity, the individual can make an anonymous phone call to a 24 hour, 7 day a week hotline and provide the anonymous information.
In a collaborative effort between the Police and IT Departments, the City of Prattville has launched tip411, an internet-based tool that enables the public to text message an anonymous tip to police, and lets the police respond back creating a two-way anonymous “chat”.
“tip411" was chosen because we felt, based on capability and budget, it best met our needs. This system will also allow the public to interact, by text, with an officer in live time, which is very advantageous to both parties.
This program is 100% anonymous. CitizenObserver’s technology removes all identifying information before PPD receives the text so there is no way to identify the sender.
It is very easy to use. To send an anonymous tip via text message to the Prattville Police Department, text the keyword PRATTPD and your message to 847411 (tip411).
You may also submit a Crime Tip online using the form below.
PPD does not charge the citizen to use this system, however, normal text messaging charges may apply through the citizen’s mobile provider.
The secret witness line (334-595-0259) is still available for citizens who do not have access or do not wish to use the text-a-tip program.
PPD is one of the few police departments in Alabama using this technology. Birmingham and Homewood Police Departments are also currently utilizing tip411.
tip411: Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is it 100% anonymous?
a. Yes, none of the information exchanged over the system is logged so there is no way to track the originator of a text or web tip.
2. What if the tip is related to an emergency or a situation where PPD needs to find out who they are?
a. If it’s clearly an emergency situation, direct them to call 911 immediately via your response. Since the system is two way, you can converse via the text chat, but since it is 100% anonymous, they may choose not to provide any identifying information.
3. Can PPD issue a subpoena to identify the tipster’s information?
a. Since the tip originators information is not logged and it’s 100% anonymous, there is no way to find out that information. However, you will have the actual tip(s) archived on the system if you need to produce it.
4. Can PPD contact the tipster again in the future?
a. Yes, at any time you can revisit a tip to reengage the tipster. They of course are not required to respond but you do have the opportunity to stay “tethered”.
You should receive a confirmation email listing the information that you submitted. If you have not received it after a few minutes, please check you spam filters.