DPS encourages Texans to use their new iWATCH program

DPS encourages Texans to use their new iWATCH program
Cindy Barkley, DPS Trooper
Cindy Barkley, DPS Trooper

Amarillo, TX - The Texas Department of Public Safety is reminding Texans report potential crime, terrorist activity, and suspicious behavior to their iWATCH program.

While other law enforcement officials are offering the public training to handle dangerous situations like APD's CRASE training, DPS is offering iWATCH.

DPS is urging residents who see something unusual to speak up. Troopers believe preparations for terrorist attacks may often be seen, but rarely reported, which they want to change.

The iWATCH program was created as a partnership between communities and law enforcement so citizens can help report potential crimes.

Cindy Barkley, DPS Trooper, said they want the public more involved in crime prevention. "It is a tool that was developed to help citizens become more involved there's obviously many more citizens eye out there then law enforcement eyes. Any information that we receive for potential criminal activity or suspicious behavior helps," Barkley said.

Concerned citizens can visit the website to fill out a report, which includes contact information and specifics about a particular incident. Reports usually take less than five minutes to complete. Once reports are submitted, each one is reviewed by law enforcement analysts. The website also lists a phone number for those who wish to submit an anonymous report.

Some activities that can be reported are: strangers asking questions about a building's security features and procedures, any baggage left behind (briefcase, suitcase, backpack, or package), vehicles left in no-parking zones at important buildings, chemical smells or fumes at are unusual for a location, people requesting sensitive information, and people purchasing supplies to make bombs or weapons without the proper credentials.

Barkley said the program is important because it helps the community. "Well it is important because if we are able to receive information on tips that lead to the  suspicious activity turning into a potential terrorism act or act of terrorism, that helps all of us," Barkley said.

The iWATCH program was not designed to report emergencies; therefore, if a situation requires an emergency response 911 should be called.

Reports to iWATCH can also be made through the DPS Mobile App, which is available for iPhone and Android users. To submit an anonymous report call DPS at 1-866-786-5972.

Copyright 2016 KFDA. All rights reserved.