Text-A-Tip Program Empowers Officers to More Easily Ignore Stapletonians

Text a TipThe Denver Police Department (DPD) has made a lot of efforts to improve their relationship with Stapleton residents. The challenge for the DPD is that Stapletonians seem to over-report suspicious activity. “We definitely receive more calls from the Stapleton neighborhood than any other area in Denver,” says officer Dan Lembeck. “Which wouldn’t be a big deal, but a lot of the calls aren’t necessary, or shouldn’t be considered suspicious behavior.” Lembeck says calls range from teenagers riding bikes around to “black guy walking a dog.” “We certainly appreciate their vigilance, but we needed to figure out a way to more appropriately use our time. So, we decided on the Text A Tip plan.”

The Text A Tip concept is first meant to help educate people on what suspicious activity is. “If people read the examples of suspicious activity, that will help immediately,” says officer Lembeck. “Plus, when you are writing something out, sometimes you will realize how ridiculous it sounds, and will simply decide it doesn’t fit suspicious criteria. Secondly, it will take a lot less time for our officers to sift through the tips that are meaningful, versus ones that are just crazy. Prior to Text A Tip, we would have 15 minute phone conversations with every person calling in what they thought was suspicious activity. Now, it takes us 20 seconds to process that.”

Stapleton resident Tim White thinks the Text A Tip concept is a good one. “Sometimes, I’ll see what I think might be suspicious behavior,” says White. “But, I won’t call, because I feel like that would take a long time. Now, I will simply text it in and let the DPD be the judge.” Barb Fecht doesn’t necessarily like Text A Tip. “I feel like they won’t take my texts seriously,” says Fecht. “Before, you at least got to talk to someone and make sure they understood the seriousness of the situation.”

Lembeck says the new line has been working great so far. “We received more tips than we had in the past,” says Lembeck. “But, that was expected. Our people have been able to process things more quickly, and by process, I of course, mean ignore.” Lembeck says the DPD immediately responds to the legitimate tips. “The Stapleton residents are an important part of the Denver community,” says Lembeck. “They just aren’t the only people living in the Denver community.” The DPD encourages residents to report any actual suspicious activity by texting the Text a Tip line at: 720-723-8911.

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