OPP launching text message engagement tool

The OPP’s new engagement tool comes into effect on Monday, Jul. 10, 2023. Photo via OPP.

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has implemented a new engagement tool that will auto-generate text message responses when someone contacts the OPP to report events of a certain type on an SMS-enabled device.

Starting on Monday, Jul. 10, 2023, members of the public may receive these text messages after a call for service from a “carefully curated list” of event types, according to a release from the OPP. The majority of these events are ones reported after the fact, and when no suspects are present.

The OPP said that when someone contacts them through an SMS-enabled device (most usually a cellphone), and their call is categorized as one of these eligible event types, the following sequence will occur:

  • The caller will receive a text message with their event number – e.g., E0123456789. Some messages might also include additional information related to a specific call type. For example, messages sent in response to calls relating to some motor vehicle collisions might include information on Collision Reporting Centres.
  • After the call is cleared by the responding officer, if/as required, the initial caller will receive an invitation to a brief voluntary survey to provide feedback on their experience with the OPP.

The information collected through the automated surveys will be used to assist the OPP in identifying opportunities to better serve the public and protect the citizens of Ontario.

In response to Kingstonist inquiries, the OPP said it does not currently have a method for members of the public to make contact through SMS messaging and there will not be the sending of text messages to individuals randomly who have not contacted the OPP.

“There are 63 call types that will trigger the messages being sent out, and the individual calling the OPP will have to have a cellular phone that is capable of receiving text messages,” said Superintendent Heath Crichton, OPP Provincial Communications Operations.

“Most calls that trigger the automated response are those reported after the fact and do not have a suspect present. Some examples include abandoned vehicles creating traffic hazards, audible alarms and traffic complaints such as impaired drivers.”

According to the release, messages will be available in both English and French, and recipients can easily opt out of receiving any additional texts from the system.

For more information on the new technology tool, please visit opp.ca. Anyone who is concerned that they have received a fraudulent message should contact the OPP’s non-emergency line: 1-888-310-1122.

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