HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. — The Air Force Office of Special Investigations recently announced its first anonymous tip line, which operates via the Internet, SMS (text messaging), and a smart phone application.
This tool will allow anyone to provide OSI with anonymous tips on everything from drugs and theft to terrorist activities and potential insider threats, according to Brig. Gen. Kevin Jacobsen, Air Force OSI commander, in a memorandum Sept. 28.
“Prior to the development and subsequent implementation of this anonymous application, we would typically receive information directly from an observer of a nefarious act or one that believed a nefarious act occurred,” said Special Agent Randall Taylor, special agent in charge, AFOSI Detachment 225, Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. “Their identifying information would be disclosed throughout the life cycle of the investigation and be archived with the subsequent report of investigation. There was no protection for a reporter’s identity. However, this application gives everyone across the entire Air Force spectrum the ability to remain anonymous and may encourage those that observe acts to report knowing their identity is protected.”
Though this new app was launched on the Air Force level, the information it collects directly affects base-level OSI detachments.
“When someone provides a tip to the Air Force-wide tip line and the issue is local, the tip will come to [the Holloman AFB] office for AFOSI Det 225 to investigate,” Taylor said.
The online and app versions allow individuals to send in photos so agents can request more information without diminishing the tipster’s anonymity, according to the Air Force OSI commander. All three avenues of reporting allow the tipster to check on the results of their tips.
Like any emerging technology, the anonymous tip line is only effective if people use it.
“In order for this initiative to really take off and become effective, we need you to promote it,” said Jacobsen.