ECSO launches app, hopes residents will help be deputies' eyes and ears in the community

    The anonymous tips are sent right to a deputy who can ask follow up questions in a chat setup all while the sender stays anonymous (Credit: Briana Trusty).

    Reporting crime in Effingham County? There's an app for that.

    Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie announced the official launch of the Sheriff's Office new app Thursday, TIP 411, that will will put power in the hands of the people by allowing them to send in anonymous tips.

    “A lot of our job relies a lot on what our community sees," said Sheriff McDuffie.

    Since it's impossible for deputies to be everywhere, the Sheriff's Office is asking people to be their eyes and ears.

    “If every deputy that is supposed to be at work is here riding around the street, we’ve got eight deputies in the entire county, but we've got tons of folks driving to work, we’ve got tons of folks going to the store, we’ve got tons of folks checking on their kids,” he said.

    The app allows anyone to submit and anonymous tip. It's sent right to a deputy who can ask follow up questions in a chat setup, all while the sender stays anonymous.

    Ruth Sikes, who lives across the street from where the two children were found buried in their backyard in Guyton, thinks the anonymity of the app could help her and other be the difference in a life or death situation in the future.

    “Some people just don’t want to call and report something because they have to give their name. If they could give their name anonymously, maybe things would work out better," said Sikes.

    She believes that, with the app, she would have felt safer speaking up when she thought something was wrong.

    “The little girl, I thought I had seen her in October or maybe November, but the neighbors said they hadn’t seen here but no one knew," said Sikes.

    Sikes hopes others will now use the app to use their voice to help those who might not have one.

    If you don't have a smartphone, you can still submit anonymous tips. You can text the tip to deputies by texting ECSO and your message to 847411 or submit it online through the Sheriff's Office website.

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