EPISD police want help from community

Seeks text tips about suspicious activity

EL PASO, Texas - The El Paso Independent School District's police department is turning to technology to keep its schools safe.

The district's new text tip line allows students, faculty and the community to anonymously report any suspicious activity directly to the district's police department.

The tip-411 School Safety Edition also allow district police officials to communicate and respond directly to the tipster in real time. 

Users simply text the keyword "tipepisdpd" to "tip-411."

The system also allows EPISD police to use social media like Facebook and Twitter to alert the community in case of a serious threat or emergency.

EPISD police chief Victor Araiza said the prevalence of social media use by so many students and faculty members will help officers get information that people would not normally provide face-to-face.

"Given the fact that majority of our students and staff have social media accounts, this will give us an opportunity to interact with individuals that have information on topics such as weapons, drugs, gangs and other potential threats that they would normally not provide information directly to a police officer," said EPISD police chief Victor Araiza.  

Now an individual can provide information to our officers anonymously that may prevent criminal activity from occurring on our campuses."

Chief Araiza added the new program also helps clear up misconceptions of the EPISD Police Department.

"All the officers that work here (EPISD) are all licensed Texas police officers, they're not security guards. So if we receive a tip, we are not going to turn it over to another agency to follow up on," said Chief Araiza.

The system is operated by a third-party vendor.  It is free to the district for the first year.

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