Lafayette Crime Stoppers cannot use court funds for banquet

Lafayette Crime Stoppers will not be able to use the money collected from defendants to pay for its annual awards banquet.

An advisory issued by the attorney general’s office says the money – which is a court cost of $2 per charge added to fines imposed in traffic and criminal cases – can be used for most security operations. Crime Stoppers, but not for the banquet.

The opinion was issued recently, after a request was sent to the GA by State Senator Gerald Boudreaux. Crime Stoppers president Jan Swift told KATC the advice was sought to ensure the group uses the funds correctly; she said the money had not been used for the banquet for several years. Crime Stoppers wanted to make sure all funds were spent properly, because the agency’s mission is too important and one that board members hold in sacred trust, Swift tells us.

The request for an opinion asked several questions to which the opinion answers:

“Lafayette Crime Stoppers may use funds received under Section 895.4(L) of the La. C.Cr.P. to rent office space, promotional materials, and expenses directly related to obtaining information about criminal activities or the operation of a hotline dedicated to receiving such information,” the notice states. “However, the use of funds for a law enforcement awards luncheon is a prohibited use of fund of section 895.4 (L) of the C.Cr.P..”

This law outlines how Crime Stoppers organizations receive funding from their parish courts:

“Where a defendant in a criminal or traffic case is found guilty of a criminal or traffic offense in a court for which the competent certifying officer has certified one or more organizations as certified organizations to arrest the crime, the court shall assess an additional court cost for each offense for which the defendant is convicted. Such court costs shall be in the amount of two dollars and shall be in addition to all other fines, penalties and costs imposed by the court. The court will not suspend payment of such court cost,” the law reads.

To read the entire law for yourself, click here.

Here is the full review:

Mark M. Gagnon