The University of Wyoming has launched an anonymous text tip program through Tip411, an internet-based tool, which enables the public to text message anonymous tips to the university police. A release from the UW says it is 100 percent anonymous, but that police are able to respond, creating a two-way anonymous chat.

UW Police Chief Troy Lane said, "We are always looking for new ways to communicate with the folks we work for." When UW police did research for the UW Alert system, which sends emergency text alerts, they found that something like 98 percent of UW students own and use cell phones, with many of them using texting as a primary form of communication.

Shortly after Lane took over the department four years ago they started the "Silent Witness" program which utilizes email. However it requires internet access, going to a specific web site and filling out a form. So they started to research the possibility of a text tip program. According to Lane, Tip411 allows a tipster to text tip411 or 847411, enter the keyword UWYO and provide the information. The program is powered by CitizenObserver, whose technology removes all identifying information before the police department sees it so there's no way to identify the sender.

"We can reply and converse with the tipster, but their phone number is not provided to us." -UW Police Chief Troy Lane

No legitimate tips have been received yet through the new program according to Lane, although the first media releases just came out on Monday. Lane says he will be working with other to develop more information in the near future, and plans to aggresively promote the product in the coming school year.

"Of course we still prefer people to call with information about immediate concerns, but this is just another option to provide information to us." -UW Police Chief Troy Lane

Campus crimes can be reported to the UW police by calling (307)766-5179. Anonymous web tips can also be submitted directly from the police department's website at www.uwyo.edu/UWPD and if the situation is truly an emergency, UW police ask that you dial 911.