Macon Regional CrimeStoppers surpassed previous records in 2009, awarding tipsters nearly $90,000 and aiding in 448 arrests.
Board Chairman Warren Selby attributes 2009’s success to a number of factors, including the program’s history in the community.
“The longer the program is in operation, the more people know about it and the more comfortable they feel,” he said.
CrimeStoppers started operating in Macon in 2001.
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The economy also has had an impact in motivating people to call in tips, he said.
“A lot of people have information that they’re willing to give you, especially if you’re going to pay them,” Selby said.
Law enforcement agencies also have increased their participation in publicizing people wanted for crimes, he said.
While the program is successful, Selby said it has lots of opportunities to expand.
He said CrimeStoppers and the Macon Police Department are in the process of selecting a new executive director to continue the work of Sgt. Zac Self. Self left CrimeStoppers and the police department in late December for a job with the U.S. Marshals Service.
Self said he hopes the program will continue to be successful.
“I wish them the best,” he said.
Selby said the executive director position is funded through the police, who provide an officer to do the job.
Police Chief Mike Burns said the position was opened to all officers to apply.
Applications were accepted through Dec 28. Macon’s personnel department is in the process of sifting through applications, Selby said.
Burns and Selby will choose the new executive director.
“I’m hoping to have someone in place by mid January,” Selby said.
In the meantime, someone still is answering the tip line, he said.
Burns said CrimeStoppers plays an important role in the community by providing tipsters with an opportunity to help police without having to testify in court or be named publicly.
“It is an additional link between the citizens and the Macon Police Department,” he said. “CrimeStoppers gives them a chance to give information without worries.”
Anyone with a tip about someone wanted by authorities or who wants to donate to the CrimeStoppers reward fund is asked to call 742-2330 or (877) 68-CRIME. Information is also available at www.crimestop.us.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.