In an age when bullying and cyberbullying are major issues for high school kids, it can be tough for students to give information to law enforcement, said a Bozeman High School resource officer.

“A lot of people don’t want to come forward,” said Scott McCormick. “Some are afraid they will be labeled a snitch.”

It was with that in mind that the Bozeman Police Department and the Bozeman Public Schools decided to provide the WeTip hotline as another way for students, parents and the rest of the community to anonymously report crimes.

The hotline is answered by tip operators 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. All calls are anonymous. Operators ask a series of questions designed by law enforcement to obtain the maximum amount of information about the crime being reported.

After information is taken, the caller is assigned a code name and number. The WeTip operator then passes the information onto Bozeman’s school resource officers or to the appropriate authorities.

While the hotline was purchased with high school kids in mind, and while McCormick and fellow school resource officer Patti Mullen will continue encouraging students to use it, anyone can call in a crime tip.

“It’s really available to everyone in the community,” McCormick said.

The hotline, which costs $500 per year, officially started service on Oct. 1.

“We’ve had some people use it. I definitely think we need to get the word out more,” McCormick said.

However, McCormick reminds students and residents that emergencies and crimes in progress should be reported to 911 immediately.

The WeTip hotline number is 1-800-78-CRIME. Tips can also be submitted at www.wetip.com.

Whitney Bermes can be reached at wbermes@dailychronicle.com or 582-2648. Follow her on Twitter at@wabermes.

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