In the past year Stark County has had its hands full with drug related crimes and overdoses, but the Stark County Sheriff's Office hopes a new tip line will help solve the problem.... with help from the community.
On Wednesday at the Student Center at Dickinson State University, the Stark County Sheriff's Office announced its participation in Project Stand Up, a national drug and school violence prevention program.
"I've said time and time again- all options are on the table when it comes to fighting drugs, " said Sheriff Terry Oestreich of the Stark County Sheriff's Office.
Utilizing the program is easy and efficient. All you need to do is text "drugs" to 82257, and it will then be redirected to law enforcement anonymously.
"Its an ease. . . its the in thing to do with the younger generation, " said Oestreich.
Once a user text the number it will ask the person a series of questions, ranging from the location to pictures of the incident.
The information is directed to a call center, which then routes it to the proper law enforcement agencies in that the state.
"Every city, town and county in North Dakota is in our system, and we got that all that through road maps and Wikipedia to make sure we didn't miss any, " said David Bean, Founder of Project Stand Up.
Bean said North Dakota is the third state to enroll in the program which is completely free; the others are Arizona and South Dakota.
"I would tell them it is invaluable because it allows every member of the community take part in fighting the drug crime, " said Bryan Gortmaker, Director of South Dakota DCI.
Gortmaker said more than 500 investigations in South Dakota were initiated through project Stand Up in 2017, and Bean said less than 1- percent were false leads.
South Dakota launched its program last year.
"They( Project Stand Up) will let the tipster know right away up front that illegal tips could be prosecuted criminally, " said Oestreich.
Project Stand Up is a nonprofit organization whose main sponsor is Sanford Health, and they hope more people assist them in getting the word out and keeping communities safe.
"Being able to receive that information immediately really changes the time frame that we can respond," said Jay Hepperle, Assistant Principal at Dickinson High School.
Oestreich said they will be rolling out the a school component in August to assist educators and school resource officers in dealing with, drugs, active shooters, and bullying.