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Editorial: New police tool will be a benefit

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opinion Farmington, 55024
Farmington Independent
651-463-7730 customer support
Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

Tip411 won’t serve every crime problem in Farmington. It doesn’t allow the kind of short-turnaround response that 911 does. It’s a more challenging way to hold a conversation than face-to-face or over the phone. But it’s still an interesting tool.

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The system, introduced recently by the Farmington Police Department, provides another option for residents who want to report a problem without identifying themselves. Anyone texting the number is assigned a code that is stripped of anything that could identify them. They can text back and forth with a police officer without the officer ever knowing who they are, and without any record outside their cell phone that they’d ever reached out to police.

It could be useful for a person who wants to report a crime but fears for their safety.

The text interface sounds a little cumbersome, but smartphone apps are apparently on the way.

In some ways, it’s similar to the new SeeClickFix system that allows residents to report potholes or other problems to the city. It’s a way to use technology in a way that makes it easier for people to report the problems they see around them. It removes a barrier for someone who might worry that a phone call would be an imposition but who has no such reservation about sending a text.

That’s a good thing. The more police know about issues in the city, the more they can do to help. The more they can help, the better off we all are.

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