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Cloquet PD connects with the community

Detective Derek Randall

In a growing age of technology and social media, the Cloquet Police Department (CPD) is finding new ways to solve crime, as well as stay connected with the community. Although the CPD has had its own Facebook and Twitter accounts since 2004, it has since found a new avenue of social media that proves to be much more convenient for both officers and the community.

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That avenue is called Nixle, a private community notification tool designed to keep people “in the loop.” While there may sometimes be a loss of communication between local law enforcement and the public, Nixle strives to bridge that gap.

Nixle was created specifically for local law enforcement and business agencies. It’s basically a souped-up hotline that works in two parts.

The first part is the notification service, which allows the CPD to issue announcements to the public via text or email. These announcements are split into three levels: community updates, public advisories, and emergency alerts.

Community updates are usually only sent to your email (although you can customize how you want to receive information from Nixle, whether through text, email, Facebook or Twitter), as the information doesn’t require immediate attention. Community updates include things such as press releases and weekly letters.

Advisories are the most frequently used notification, and they include traffic and weather warnings, as well as recent thefts in the area. They are usually sent via text, as they are more urgent than community updates.

Alerts are seldom used, as they designate matters of high urgency, such as missing person reports or warnings of immediate danger. Alerts are also usually sent through text.

These notifications are to keep the community updated and involved, while strengthening trust between the CPD and the public.

“Nixle lets the community know what we’re doing. It makes us more transparent,” said Detective Derek Randall. “We want the public to know we’re here to help.”

The second advantage Nixle offers is the anonymous tip line. This allows anyone from the public to contact the CPD with information on a suspect or crime while staying discreet. This new method ensures the privacy and safety of witnesses, especially people who would be unwilling to give helpful information otherwise.

Police officers can stay in contact and respond to anonymous tips, but the name and number of the witness remains blocked — thus tippers are really anonymous.

When sending information to authorities, tippers are asked to be as thorough as possible, filling out an incident report and describing as much about the suspect as they can.

In addition to written information, tippers can also choose to send pictures or videos that could help the case.

Nixle is a fast and easy way to get in touch with local authorities, even if the situation isn’t a direct emergency. It’s also an efficient way for the Police Department to sort and address community issues, while still remaining available for emergencies. “We (the Cloquet Police Department) had 11,220 service calls last year,” said Randall, “so things can get pretty busy.”

Now with the anonymous tip line officers can address emergencies and better serve the community while saving time and resources constantly searching for witnesses and leads.

While 300 people already use Nixle to stay in contact with the CPD, everyone is encouraged to sign up for updates and access to the anonymous tip line.

You can access Nixle through the Cloquet Police Department Facebook and Twitter pages (facebook/cloquetpolicemn, twitter/cloquetpolicemn), or by texting 55720 to 888-777. Registration literally takes less than five minutes — all that’s required is your name, email, phone number, and a password. And did we mention it’s free?

With Facebook, Twitter and cell phones connecting people across the globe, Nixle proves to be a quick and easy connection between the Cloquet Polic