Home Local News ROCKINGHAM PD REPORT: New app increases tips, violent crime down

ROCKINGHAM PD REPORT: New app increases tips, violent crime down

Rockingham Police Chief George Gillenwater present's the department's annual report to the Rockingham City Council on Feb. 14, 2023. Photo by William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — Tips on criminal activity to law enforcement have increased since a new mobile app went into operation last May.

That’s according to Rockingham Police Chief George Gillenwater in his annual report to the City Council.

RPD partnered with Richmond County Crime Stoppers and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office in 2022 to purchase the P3 Tips app, developed by Texas-based Anderson Software.

“It has been extremely helpful in solving crimes,” Gillenwater said. “The amount of tips that we’ve received in one year have tripled since 2021. The amount of tips leading to arrests has quadrupled since we went to this app.”

Gillenwater, who is the administrator for the RPD side, said he receives an average of three to four texts a night from the app.

The chief said Emergency Management Director Bob Smith told him that tips rarely come through the 911 Center anymore — 95% come through the app.

All the tips are anonymous and tipsters are assigned a number to use when collecting award money.

While tips are up, calls to the police and the numbers of violent crime are down.

According to the report, the department received 15,825 calls for service — which equates to around 800 calls per officer when fully staffed — in 2022. For most of that year, Gillenwater said, the department operated at one less officer per shift, bringing the ratio to around 989 calls per officer.

By comparison, RPD responded to more than 19,000 calls in 2019, the most in the past five years.

The number of serious assaults and murders were also down from the previous year, according to the report, while the number of robberies remains about the same.

Gillenwater said the elimination of around 2,000 non-essential calls freed up resources to be put to “better use,” allowing officers to be on patrol in high-crime areas and, in turn, helping to reduce the crime rate.

Also included in the report is a list of awards and training achievements.

According to Gillenwater, nearly 80% of the department has either an Intermediate or Advanced Law Enforcement certification through the N.C. Criminal Justice Education Training and Standards Commission.


Within the past year, officers Jan Owens and Skyler Dover received their Advanced certifications. Owens, who heads up the department’s Shop with a Cop program, was promoted to detective in January.

Click here to read about this year’s Shop with a Cop.

Click here to see the video for Shop with a Cop.

Detective Clint Neely and Amante Carswell were also certified for the Crisis Intervention Team.

Click here to read an RO editorial on the CIT.

Gillenwater said officers logged about 2,500 hours of training in 2022, as well as 300 hours of the Virtual Academy training site, which can be done online at the individual officer’s pace.

Officer Hunter Carriker was awarded for logging the most training hours.

Other awards include:

  • Most Improved – Officer Justin Freeman
  • Top Shot – Sgt. Marcus Ricks
  • Officer of the Year – Officer Charles Talley

The department also acquired through a grant a new K-9, Star, to be RPD’s first tracking bloodhound. Star will be handled by Detective Lt. Larry Tunstall and training is set to begin soon.

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Managing Editor William R. Toler is an award-winning writer and photographer with experience in print, television and online media.