Students were welcomed back from winter break with more than just cold weather – a new hotline called “WittTips” was featured on the top the MyWitt portal, offering students the opportunity to report criminal activity with the touch of a button.
The announcement encourages students to text WITTTIP to 50911 with any concern from a loud party on campus to drug-related concerns.
Police Coordinator Connie Ross accredited the texting hotline to her last meeting with the Police Advisory Committee before break.
“Students have wanted something like this for a while,” she said.
The texting alerts were already offered through the eCampus system utilized by the Police Division, so the hotline was at no extra expense to the university.
“WittTips” are sent to supervisor phones, the cell phone at dispatch and also to the consecutive parties via email. No matter where you are, they will receive the message confidentially.
A lot of universities have similar systems, explained Chief of Police Jim Hutchins: “This is where the technology is going,” he said.
The Police Advisory Committee is composed of various student leaders on campus, including multiple members of Student Senate. Ross, however, feels the committee needs more outlets to promote communication between the Police and Security Department and students.
“We will put meeting minutes on the portal next semester so [students] have an avenue to communicate to the committee,” she said.
The service charges no extra expense to the sender, as regular cellphone fees apply. Like any other texting form, however, the messages are “restricted to 160 characters,” according to Hutchins.
“Text messages are limited, but it might be a great way to shoot something over to us. [Students] might be in a group where they don’t feel comfortable to call. You’re not limited to just one text; you can continue texting if you have more information,” Hutchins said.
The Police and Security Department received its first tip last weekend about a loud party on campus.
“We got enough information off the text to deal with the situation,” Hutchins said.
The Wittenberg Police and Security Department still has an anonymous tip form students can access online: please visit Wittenberg Police Division on the university website for more information.