EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Students at Edwardsville High School have a tech-savvy way to let authorities know if something is making them feel unsafe. The Alliance Text-a-Tip program allows students to communicate with law enforcement about what concerns them.
"If you can post on social media, you can use the app," said Edwardsville Police Department Sergeant Matt Breihan.
The P3Campus mobile app allows students to talk to law enforcement.
"They'll post their feelings online but they won't reach out and ask for help," Breihan said.
Sergeant Breihan said it is anonymous and if students see something, they can say something, but on an app.
"We see a lot of mental health issues, we see a lot of drug abuse issues, violence issues; stuff we have to answer to, stuff that if you want too long to answer, the outcome is more horrible. It could be catastrophic," he said.
This is the third year for the program. It allows students to report a wide range of concerns from mental health issues to threats of violence, all while remaining anonymous.
"Over the last two years, we've received almost 400 tips," Sergeant Breihan said.
It costs $2,500 a year to run the program. Sergeant Breihan sought out donations to help fund the program. Numerous associates of the Re/Max Alliance team from various communities fully funded the program.
"If we know all this information ahead of time, and if we deal with all this information ahead of time, we can divert and keep things from happening,” Sergeant Breihan said. “Help the kids that need help; solve the crimes before they occur.”
Since the program started, Sergeant Breihan said other schools have followed suit.
"Since our beginning and our success, the Collinsville school district started running the program and the O'Fallon School district started," he said.
Sergeant Breihan said the goal is safety and taking steps to keep students safe is his ultimate priority.
"Police aren't always there to punish. Punishing is the last thing on our minds. It's about creating that bond and making this place as safe as we possibly can," he said.