Mid-Coast agencies promote anonymous text-a-tip service

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BATH — Police and medical officials are promoting an anonymous texting tip line to discourage underage drinking.

The program, called “eTip,” was developed in 2012 by Communities Against Substance Abuse, Access Health, and Mid Coast Hospital.

In a Dec. 18 press release, the groups said that since the program’s inception, police have received a “steady number” of anonymous tips, many of which have led to the prevention of underage drinking.

Bath Police Lt. Robert Savary on Dec. 23 said that his department has had multiple cases where they’ve been able to identify underage drinking “before it got out of control.”

The program works three ways. Tipsters can either send information anonymously by texting “eTip,” followed by a message, to 274637 or “CRIMES”; submit a tip online at accesshealthme.org, or download the “Tip Submit” smartphone app.

Savary said police are especially trying to push the smartphone app at schools.

“Through school resource officers … (We) encourage high school kids to download the app on their phone,” he said. “The target is for kids who feel conflicted about calling the police and reporting dangerous underage activity.”

“It’s really easy, they don’t have to talk to anybody, don’t have to give their name,” he added.

Jennah Godo, Access Health substance abuse prevention coordinator, in a press release said “eTip allows teens, parents and other community members to use texting to share any concerns they have with our local police, who can intervene if necessary to keep kids safe.” 

Savary said police also try to push the program around the time of graduations and prom.

Several area businesses will be promoting the program by putting out coffee cups printed with the eTip number, including Cafe Creme in Bath, Ship to Shore in Harpswel, and Libby’s Market, Warming’s Market and Lighthouse Variety and Deli in Brunswick.

Walter Wuthmann can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or wwuthmann@theforecaster.net. Follow Walter on Twitter: @wwuthmann.

Brunswick/Harpswell reporter for The Forecaster. Bowdoin College grad, San Francisco Bay Area native. Follow for municipal, school, community, and environmental news from the Midcoast.