The Text-A-Tip program is a 24-hour service, and each text message will be viewed individually by police operations staff and forwarded to the appropriate investigations bureau or district station. Emergency texts will be forwarded to the dispatch center.
The service will allow investigators to text back and forth with tipsters, who will be assigned a confidential ID number by the third-party company that runs the service, Minneapolis-based Citizen Observer Inc., according to police.
All tips will remain anonymous unless the texter wishes to provide personal information.
The effort is part of the department's renewed focus on implementing technological reforms.
Though this particular program has, according to police spokeswoman Sgt. Lyn Tomioka, been in the works for months, new Chief George Gascon's has also stated that technological upgrades to the department is one of his goals. Gascon did implement the Text-A-Tip program at his previous job as police chief in Mesa, Ariz.
Complete instructions on how to send a tip-by-text message will be posted on the Police Department's Web site, www.sfgov.org/police, today, according to Tomioka.