Crime Stoppers kicks off

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 2, 2003

That message came from Selma Police Department Chief Robert Green Wednesday morning at a press conference for the official kickoff of Crime Stoppers in Dallas County.

Green, along with Dallas County Sheriff Harris Huffman, District Attorney Ed Greene and Chairman Billy Atchison of the Selma and Dallas County Crime Stoppers board, met at the Centre for Commerce to announce the program’s launch.

Atchison has been involved in Crime Stoppers programs in Mobile and Tuscaloosa. He also has participated in criminal investigations with Alabama Power, where he is manager of the Selma office. His history with the program led him to assist with the creation of one for Selma and Dallas County.

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The program encourages witnesses to a crime who might otherwise not get involved to contact law enforcement in hopes of receiving a cash reward. Callers remain anonymous and, if a lead proves successful, could receive $50 to $1,000.

Reward money is funded by donations from retailers and individuals.

The cash reward allows law enforcement to strike at the heart of criminal circles, according to Atchison.

He said it is not uncommon for criminals to inform on each other to collect the reward.

Callers contacting Crime Stoppers with a tip are given a secret identification number, which ensures their identity is not revealed. The caller is advised to contact the program again in about a week to check on the status of his tip. If the lead results in an arrest, the informant becomes eligible for a reward.

The Crime Stoppers Committee, which meets each month, determines how much money is rewarded. The caller then uses his secret identification number to receive a cash reward from a previously arranged bank or other location.

Program Director Capt. Roy Freine with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department said he knew of numerous cases in which witnesses who refused to come forward. &uot;Money will motivate them,&uot; he added.

Atchison agreed. &uot;It’s amazing how far that reward money can go in helping an investigation,&uot; he said.

If you’ve got a tip, Crime Stoppers can be reached at 1-800-442-7463 (1-800-NO-CRIME).