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Lewis County Sheriff’s Department establishes anonymous tip line

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LOWVILLE — The Lewis County Sheriff’s Department has established a dedicated tip line to offer greater anonymity to those wishing to report suspicious activity.

“The major thing is there’s no caller ID, so it definitely is strictly anonymous,” said Undersheriff James M. Monnat.

Anyone wishing to report possible criminal activity to department officials may now call 377-2020 and leave a message on the answering machine.

“Nobody is going to answer the phone,” Mr. Monnat said.

The answering machine for the tip line is in the sergeant’s office at the county Public Safety Building and will be checked on a daily basis by a sergeant on duty, possibly at the beginning or ending of his shift, Mr. Monnat said.

He said he envisions the new line being used by residents to advise police of things ranging from ongoing suspicious activities, like possible drug sales or usage, to someone possibly driving without a license.

“It can be anything,” Mr. Monnat said.

People always have been able to report such things by calling dispatchers at 911 for emergencies or 376-3511 for non-emergencies.

Upon request, dispatchers will withhold callers’ names in their reports, noting only that the caller was anonymous, Mr. Monnat said. However, they obviously know the telephone number from which the call was made.

The undersheriff said he hopes the new offering will appeal to people and will entice more residents to alert police to possible criminal activity.

“They like reporting stuff, but they don’t want to get involved in things,” Mr. Monnat said.

Any emergencies or any “activity afoot right then” still would need to be reported through the 911 dispatch center, since messages left on the tip line may not be noticed for an extended period of time, Mr. Monnat said.

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