New leadership allowed Greater Gonzales County Crime Stoppers to renew its focus

By LEW K. COHN, Inquirer Editor

Greater Gonzales County Crime Stoppers has new leadership and a renewed focus on its mission since 2012 to help law enforcement by encouraging the community to speak up when they see something illegal.

“The last group of officers who came for Crime Stoppers did so at the very start of COVID so it was difficult for them to start or start anything as they were unable to attend classes due to of the pandemic,” Christina said. Jahns, one of the new members of the GGCCS Board of Directors.

“So Melissa (Cunningham) and I took over last summer and we were able to attend a class and learn all the ins and outs of the program and we are really excited to move it in the right direction and to get the community more involved as we spread the word about what Crime Stoppers does.

Crime Stoppers’ next monthly meeting, open to the public, will be held on Tuesday, September 27 at 6 p.m. in the Waelder ISD cafeteria and dinner will be served. Meetings usually take place on the last Tuesday of each month.

“We had the last meeting in Gonzales and hopefully we’ll have the next one (after Waelder)) in the Nixon-Smiley area,” Jahns said. “We’ll keep it running so everyone doesn’t have to drive that far.

“When we have our meetings in Gonzales we try to have them at noon because that is when the majority of our officers can attend since the majority are here in Gonzales. When they are in Waelder or Nixon, we’re going to shoot for a 6pm start time because that allows more of the community to come and get involved, plus they have smaller departments in those communities, so they can usually attend The evening.

So what is Crime Stoppers? This is not law enforcement, but a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that offers cash rewards to individuals who provide anonymous information that leads to the criminal arrest of criminals or fugitives. This information can be received either via the secure telephone line or via a secure connection to the website or via the P3 Tips mobile application.

“Crime Stoppers became a thing because there was an officer who felt like people weren’t speaking up because they feared reprisal or reprisal,” Cunningham said. “Basically, we encourage the community to talk about, you know, ‘See something, say something.’

“They are completely anonymous and we will never ask for their name. Through Texas Government Code 414, it regulates that even through the court system, none of their information can be disclosed or identified, so everything is completely anonymous, and they can get a cash reward for any information they can provide.”

Jahns and Cunningham explained that the tipster either assigns themselves a four-digit code when using the P3 app or receives one when they call the tip line and “we only know you by that. coded”.

“Once law enforcement receives the tip, they send a message back to us advising that the tip was good and an arrest was made based on that tip,” Jahns said. “We will contact you through the app to let you know that the information we received was correct and to come and collect your reward.

“We have an account open at the bank and you go through the drive-thru lane and write down your code number. We will have already called the bank to tell them that “the tipster 1234 is coming to collect their reward”. So no one should ever ask for your name or need your name to get your tip paid.

Cunningham said it’s been a while since a payment has been made from Greater Gonzales County Crime Stoppers funds, but there have been some recent tips, including one that could potentially help solve a recent spate of thefts. in the area, and she’s excited to think he might be able to pay a reward sooner rather than later.

Jahns said the organization is also reaching out to local school districts to get them involved by bringing the Safe Schools program under the Crime Stoppers umbrella.

“They can submit tips the same way the community would, but those tips would go to the officer or the administration there, and they can manage it from there. They might tip someone who has a gun, or vaping or narcotics and they will be paid cash for those tips as well,” Jahns said.

Cunningham said the organization has posters with QR codes that can be scanned and used to report a tip – some aimed at schools and some aimed at the community at large – and they are placed “in places where it’s less visible, you know, like toilets in bars or in schools.

For more information on Crime Stoppers or to report an anonymous tip, call 830-672-TIPS (8477) or download the P3 Tips app. You can also email [email protected]

Mark M. Gagnon