Recently, we had the honor of interviewing Lt. Joe Seaton, Supervisor for the School Resource Officers (SRO) program for the Blount County Sheriff’s Office in Maryville, TN. Lt. Seaton is also in charge of the Anonymous Tipping program for Blount County, which has been implemented in 11 of the 21 middle and high schools throughout the County.
The Anonymous Tipping service is part of Motorola Solutions’ community engagement software, CommandCentral Community, to help law enforcement build transparency and partnership with the community they serve. With Anonymous Tipping, the public can anonymously share information with law enforcement from any mobile device.
Blount County Sheriff’s Office, which has been using Motorola’s tipping program since 2010, promotes the program with flyers and business cards and by projecting the tip code throughout the schools on wall-mounted TVs, as well as through interviews with local TV stations. As a result of these initiatives and word of mouth, students have embraced the program as a way to help protect fellow classmates and school personnel while remaining anonymous. Blount County receives approximately 500 tips annually, county-wide.
TipManager 2 – Light Years Ahead
Motorola recently released a new version of the Anonymous Tipping service with many enhancements, including a mobile tip management interface on the backend to provide law enforcement greater mobility in managing tips.
Lt. Seaton says the mobility he now has with TipManager 2 is the most impactful change.
“For me, managing tips with the TipManager 2 is head and shoulders above the previous version. Before, I only had access to tips from my computer and it was cumbersome, especially with tips coming in after 10 at night, because that meant I had to get up and go to my cruiser to access my computer.
Now, with the mobile version, when a tip comes in, even if it’s late at night, I just roll over and look at the tip from my phone then call the dispatcher to send out units. It doesn’t even require me to download an app. A tip is time sensitive and these improvements are so important— light years ahead.”
More than Convenience
The added mobility for Lt. Seaton means more than just convenience, it’s critical to an efficient response.
“In emergency situations, you need to be equipped for an immediate response. People send a tip because they need help, and many times that help is needed immediately. Now, with the mobile version, when a tip comes in, my response is almost instantaneous.”
Communication Is Key
With 25 years of experience in law enforcement, Lt. Seaton knows how important conversations with tipsters can be.
“Communication is the key to everything. The Anonymous Tipping service is a communications tool that is invaluable, and now, having the mobile version to manage the tips is just tremendous. As law enforcement, we have to be aware of what’s going on before we can do anything to help. This program provides a very quick way to communicate and have quick responses when needed. That short communication time — is the key to saving lives.”
Just last year, Lt. Seaton received a tip that may have done just that — saved lives.
“I was in my car when a tip came in from a student reporting that another student in the school had a gun. Fortunately, I was on the campus at the time. Within a minute and 45 seconds from the time the tip came in, we were able to locate the child, secure the loaded handgun that was in his backpack and place him in custody. This includes the time it took to find the student in the school, which is spread across 3 different buildings. We never would have been able to retrieve the gun and student so quickly if we didn’t have this program.”
Thank you Lt. Seaton for all you and Blount County are doing to keep us safe.
For more information on the CommandCentral Community tools, check out Community Engagement – Motorola Solutions