COLUMBIA FALLS — An app you can download on your smartphone is helping Columbia Falls residents work closely with police to fight crime in their community.
MTN News spoke with Columbia Falls Police Chief Clint Peters about the app’s effectiveness one year since its inception.
The department partnered with tip411 at the beginning of 2020 to create an easy-to-download Columbia Falls PD smartphone app. Chief Peters says it has helped officers fight crime in a number of different ways.
“We’ve gotten a lot of feedback on different cases from the community, definitely got some good tips in cases where people were entering in vehicles illegally and stealing items, we’ve had some drug cases, some information on people using and selling, etc...,” Chief Peters stated.
Chief Peters says the app is free and easy to download for both iPhone and Android users letting residents submit anonymous tips to police with immediate feedback.
“A lot of times you’re going to get me because I’m monitoring it 24/7, just saying can we get some more information or can you describe this person, how do you know this information?” he told MTN News. “But It’s a great tool for us to be able to just communicate back and forth instantaneous.”
Chief Peters says the app can also be used in emergency situations, letting residents know of extreme weather, fire and other disaster scenarios.
“If I need to get information out immediately, we can send that just at the touch of a button from my cell phone, just put the information in and it send it out there,” Chief Peters said.
He added that the app is helping the police department build trust in the community. “If someone feels unsafe and just says ‘hey this is the situation.’ We need to know about it, that’s good too, we will use that information as best we can.”
Chief Peters says one highlight is that the smartphone app gives younger generations easy access to communicate with law enforcement. Columbia Falls residents who don't own a smartphone can still send anonymous tips directly through the police department’s website.