|Crime-fighting group in need of cash|
|February 21, 2012 09:28 pm|
The nonprofit agency that provides financial rewards for information leading to the arrest of criminals is seeking financial donations to keep up their work, said Don Sparlin, a member of the Board of Directors.
“We’ve only requested contributions once or twice in our history,” he said.
That’s because the group operates on just $850 annually. Overhead includes only a toll-free phone line, a post office box, filing fees for the Oregon Department of Justice and dues for Crime Stoppers International.
Everyone who helps with the program is a volunteer, Sparlin noted.
Crime Stoppers pays up to $1,000 to those whose tips help catch criminals. Law enforcement agencies such as Brookings Police Department and the Curry County Sheriff’s Office determine if a reward is warranted and, if so, their personnel contact Crime Stoppers, Sparlin said.
Brookings Police Chief Chris Wallace said the organization provides valuable help to law enforcement agencies.
“It certainly is a tool,” he said. “It’s another way for us to get information, and I support them 1,000 percent.”
Wallace said tips from Crime Stoppers have helped solve cases ranging from criminal misdemeanors to homicides.
Curry County Sheriff John Bishop agrees the program is a good one. He said a tip from Crime Stoppers years ago led officers to a rifle used in a double homicide.
“It helped us nail that case down,” Bishop said. “I was a (Brookings) detective when they started and they helped solve a ton of crimes. They’re extremely valuable.”
Often, rewards are partially funded by people who have been victims of crime, Sparlin said.
Even solving misdemeanor crimes might prompt a $50 or $100 gift to a citizen who gave information. Sparlin said the organization’s work is particularly important in these tough economic times.
“Our police agencies are so held back on funding,” he said.
He emphasized that people who have information that will help police do not have to give their names. The Curry County Crime Stoppers telephone number is 541-412-0989 and its toll-free number is 888-974-000.
Calls are received at Brookings Police dispatch on special lines that provide no caller identification, Sparlin said. Callers are given a method to check back for possible rewards.
Sparlin said Curry County has relatively little crime, but efforts must be made to keep it that way. Donations to Crime Stoppers are usually tax-deductible.
He said those who wish to contribute financially to keep the program operating may send checks payable to Curry County Crime Stoppers to P.O. Box 774, Brookings, OR 97415.
Those who want more information may contact Sparlin or other members of the Board of Directors: Steve and Trish Blasdell, Pam Deraita, Moira Fossum, Rick Gray, Ed Gross, Brian Hodge, Charlie Kocher, Debbie Krambeal, Diane Rettke, Brian Scott and Curtis Williams.