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New tip service targets substance abuse

News

New tip service targets substance abuse

BATH — A new text-a-tip service allows people to anonymously report underage drinking and drug use through text messages, a website or a mobile phone application.

The "eTip" service was unveiled April 10 by the Sagadahoc County and Cumberland County sheriff's departments, and Brunswick, Bath, Topsham, Richmond and Phippsburg police.

There are three ways to submit tips:

• Text "eTip" along with the tip to 274637 (CRIMES).

• Download the free TipSubmit Mobile app for iPhone or Android smartphones.

• Or submit an online tip through midcoastcasa.org or the local police department's website.

The tips are encrypted and immediately sent to the Sagadahoc County Dispatch Center, which passes them onto the appropriate police department.

"We have a lot of rural areas in our community where parties just aren't noticed by neighbors," Bath Police Chief Mike Field said. "We hope the ability to text a tip will make teens more comfortable letting us know if a party is getting out of hand, or preferably, before the party starts."

Brodie Hinckley, director of the Sagadahoc County Communications Center, noted that "as much as we encourage parents and community members to let parents or the police know when they suspect a party is going on, there are still many who feel uncomfortable making the call. We hope the anonymity of this service will help youth and adults feel more comfortable letting the police know a party is being planned, or in progress."

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.