Speakout hotline in Brevard County accepts anonymous school safety tips

Tips about bullying, weapons on campus can be submitted anonymously

By Louis Bolden - Investigative Reporter

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, law enforcement officers are reminding the community about Speakout, a system that allows anyone to report tips related to school safety anonymously.

Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey called it the first layer of protection for schools.

"We tell people all the time if you see something say something. Well Speakout is a method of doing that," Ivey said at a press conference after the Parkland shootings.

The Speakout hotline is manned around the clock, according to Executive Director Barb Bergin.

"We take tips on anything that would be disruptive or unsafe on a school campuses," she said.

Bergin has been at the helm of Crimeline since 2009. The lines have the same number, 800-423-TIPS and are managed by the same team.

Tipsters can call, report online at www.speakouthotline.org, or use the p-3 tips app on a smartphone.

During our visit to the headquarters, we listened in on a mock call about a weapon on campus to give us an idea of the information operators need.

An operator collects as much information as possible about the person accused of having a weapon.  

In this case an "11th-grader who is in Mrs. Smith's homeroom."  They try to collect information about any others who might be involved.

Tips can be on any range of topics, including bullying and students doing harm to themselves.

"If you get mental health care to a student who is in possible crisis, potentially we're stopping other incidents from happening," Bergin said.

To make sure tips are anonymous the caller is given a website, ID and password so they can follow up on their tip, or give additional information, like uploading pictures and videos.

Bergin said it works, and had this tip for parents:

"I would encourage you to give this tool to your kids and say, 'If you're not comfortable talking to me or a teacher or law enforcement, don't ever forget this is an option and you can make a difference,'" she said.

Like Crimeline, Speakout does not want your name, just your information. They also offer rewards.

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