The Osseo Police Department is offering residents and those working in the city of Osseo another opportunity to stay informed and to share information with officers. With recent civil unrest in the area, the department is encouraging people to use the free Tip411 app.

Tip411 is for the public to submit anonymous tips by sending a secure message through an app, text or online. The public can also receive news and alerts from the Osseo Police Department about current events or information, and view an interactive crime map.

“So Tip411 is a public outreach app that is going to allow people or allow us to reach out to the public,” Osseo officer Tony Mortinson said. “We can post anything from public alerts. Let’s say we have a burglary case and we want to make sure the public knows about it. We put that information out there.”

He added that Tip411 would let people be able to give the police department any tips or leads on that case by replying to an alert.

“People can also submit tips via the app directly to us for any rhyme or reason,” Mortinson said.

To submit a tip through the Tip411 app, people need to download the Osseo Police Department Tip411 app in the Apple app or the Google Play store.

To submit a tip via text message, people can send their message to the police department by texting the keyword “OSSEOPD” to 847411.

To submit a tip on a computer, visit the website to leave a tip.

Tips submitted by the public also remain anonymous. Any identification information (phone numbers, IP addresses, etc.) is not recorded and cannot be accessed under any circumstances. The tipster’s IP address and other identifying information are never retained by the third-party vendor that manages the program. Each tip is assigned a unique identification number, but the tipster’s identity is not collected. Identifying information is not available to law enforcement via subpoena or search warrant, because it is never recorded.

Mortinson said once a tip is submitted, the officer on duty will respond. “We can actually open up a conversation between the officer and the citizen,” he said. “Anyone responding from the Osseo Tip411 is an Osseo police officer.”

Videos and photos can also be uploaded when submitting tips.

Chief Shane Mikkelson said if people see an emergency or crime happening, they should call 911, but the app is still available. “The nice part of the crime mapping is when you click on whatever crime is it, you can submit a tip that way too on the crime map itself,” he said.

People will be able to set a date time frame and choose which crimes they would like to be informed about. Sensitive incidents, like domestic assaults or medical calls, are not part of the crime mapping.

He added, “Tip411 is another different way to report something, especially if you want to remain anonymous. Or if it’s something so sensitive, like maybe it’s not occurring now but you saw it or heard about it, we can at least look at these things.”

There is a crime mapping section as part of Tip411. This allows residents to see what crimes have been occurring in the area. “The biggest benefit for us, I think, is the ability for people to let us know about the crime that’s happening,” Mortinson said. “It allows people to give us information on cases that we are currently investigating.”

Mikkelson said the Tip411 app will also allow the department to use all of its social media platforms through the app.

“It connects to our Facebook page. It connects to our Twitter page,” he said. “It will share the first part of the alert. Let’s just say, worst-case scenario, there is a school shooting. We could get onto Tip411 and send it out telling everyone to stay in your home. You would get the alert on your phone if you had it downloaded.”

Mortinson said the app is a great way to get information out to the public quickly as possible and create.

“People should really have this on their phone, whether they live, work or play here,” Mikkelson added. “For us, the app is a two-way street. We are trying to implement things that involve our community. It’s just a great way to engage with our community. And they can stay on top of what’s going on in their block, their area, by looking at crime mapping.”

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