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City Corner column: Citizens Academy scheduled for January

By By Jennifer Sourdellia
Nov. 17, 2013 at 5:17 a.m.


Does the city plan to have another Citizens Academy in the near future?

Yes, the city will conduct a Citizens Academy beginning in January. Online applications are being accepted for the seventh Citizens Academy, scheduled to begin Jan. 9.

The Citizens Academy is a free program designed to educate residents about city services, improve communications between city government and its residents and to encourage residents to participate in city government.

The course is a series of two-hour-and-15-minute presentations, tours and demonstrations by city departments held each Thursday for nine weeks. The presentations cover the basic departmental functions and goals. The presentations are followed by a question-and-answer session. A meal and drink are provided at each session.

The Citizens Academy is scheduled each Thursday evening from Jan. 9 through March 6. Most Citizens Academy sessions will be held in Room 204 at 700 Main Center from 6 to 8:15 p.m. Other sessions will be at city facilities, including the Victoria Public Library, the Surface Water Treatment Plant, police station, Emergency Operations Center and the Fire Training Facility. Participants will also have an opportunity to attend a City Council meeting.

The academy is free to Victoria residents 21 years and older. Any resident interested in learning about city operations or who has expressed opinions about city services, operations or governing is invited to attend. Preference is given to residents who live within the city limits of Victoria. Class size is limited to 20 participants, and spaces fill up quickly. Applications must be submitted online at victoriatx.org. Call 361-485-3110 for more information.

How can I submit an anonymous tip to the police department?

The Victoria Police Department's ability to solve crimes and create a safer community has a lot to do with citizen involvement. The police department has embraced new technologies that open two-way communications anonymously with citizens who have tips or other information that will help detectives solve crimes and create a safer community.

The department recently launched a national tip411 anonymous text program as well as the Victoria PD smartphone app for iPhone and Android devices. Online tips can also be submitted via the police department's webpage.

Here are various ways to submit tips while remaining completely anonymous:

Text 847411

tip411 is an Internet-based tool that the public can use to text message an anonymous tip to police and lets the police respond, creating a two-way anonymous chat.

Cellphone users can text information to 847411.

Simply type in VictoriaPD, enter a space, then type your tip and hit send. The keyword VictoriaPD must be included.

When the text message is sent to the VPD, the tipster's cellular phone number is completely anonymous and is never received by the Victoria PD.

Download the Victoria PD Tip App

This application provides callers with the ability to submit anonymous tips from their smartphone. Find the app in your App Store by searching "VictoriaPD."

Submit a Web Tip

Tips can also be submitted online by visiting victoriapd.com and clicking on the "Submit a Tip" link. After submitting a tip using the web service, you will be assigned a six-digit code with numbers and letters. That is your anonymous ID to log back into the system.

All three methods (phone apps, texting and online) are 100 percent anonymous and are sent directly to the Victoria Police Department. This allows police officers to ask follow-up questions to tipsters, who remain anonymous.

Tips are sent to a third-party service acting as a privacy buffer between you and the Victoria Police Department to preserve your identity and contact information.

Call the Crimestoppers Tip Line

You can also submit tips by calling the Crimestoppers Tip Line at 361-572-4200.

If you have a tip for the Victoria Police Department, please use any of the four options mentioned above to help provide important information on crimes or criminals that will help us to keep the city of Victoria safe for everyone.

Do you have a question about the city of Victoria? Please submit your questions and comments about any city department to Jennifer Sourdellia in the Communications/Public Information Office by emailing jsourdellia@victoriatx.org or mail to P.O. Box 1758, Victoria, TX 77902.

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