McKinney students texting bullying tips directly to police officers

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on September 20, 2013 at 4:58 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 20 at 5:36 PM

MCKINNEY –– McKinney schools are using a new tool designed to stop bullying and fights, before any of it happens. Tip 411 allows students to anonymously text information directly to police officers. The program is already getting results.

Students at any McKinney school can text tips to TIP (847) 411. They're asked to include a special code identifying the school they attend. They remain anonymous. 

"Kids are so into technology today," said Sgt. Sherwood Holmes, of the McKinney Police Department. "They can use their smart phones, they can use the computer to actually send a text and actually talk live to police officer."

The new school year isn't even one month old and the program is already having an impact. 

"We've stopped a few fights before they happen," said Sgt. Holmes. "Some bullying incidents have occurred that we stopped and got parents and kids together. It's working."

McKinney ISD officials say the ultimate goal is helping students feel safe at their schools. In addition to texting, they can also go on to the district's website and pass on anonymous tips from there. 

"It's all about speed of information," said Cody Cunningham, McKinney ISD Spokesman. "So the faster we can get the information, the police department can get the information, the faster they can investigate any kind of potential incident, and then prevent that from occurring."

Unlike other text and tip programs, the TIP 411 program connects students and officers immediately. 

"They hear about something in class," said Sgt. Holmes. "They actually can be sitting there talking to a police officer right then, while it's happening, while they're hearing it and passing on that information."  

And since the officers are already at the schools, Cunningham says it's a perfect fit.

Email sstoler@wfaa.com

 

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