The Owen Sound Police board is hoping Crime Stoppers Grey Bruce will find a sustainable source of funding from the community.
Police Chief Craig Ambrose says they receive a number of tips from residents about significant crimes as well as drug activity, "It's a great source of information for us," but he feels the police service regularly paying for the tip service would blur lines.
Meanwhile, Crime Stoppers of Grey Bruce Chair Peter Reid says there has been a downward trend over the years in terms of community funding for the local program.
Crime Stoppers of Grey Bruce has funding for the next year and a half but this year, Reid is visiting councils and organizations seeking to lock in funding for a few years going forward.
At its most recent meeting (June26) the City police board discussed ongoing funding but Chief Ambrose says Crime Stoppers needs to remain separate from the police service itself.
Ambrose says "We are willing to work with them in-kind and provide some assistance, but I think it's important that they have a solid financial backbone and a solid financial footing that they don't depend on donations from the police."
Ambrose says members of police organizations do sometimes act as Crime Stoppers tip line operators, but they have to sign confidentiality agreements and are working for and reporting to the Crime Stoppers board during that time.
"In order for the program to be successful, the police can't know who the individual is, can't have any idea, and it's not in a police record because anything that belongs to the police is disposable," says Ambrose.
In the last five years, in Grey Bruce Crime Stoppers tips have resulted in 49 million dollars in drugs seized and almost 4 million dollars in stolen property recovered.
Reid says Crime Stoppers authorized $260 thousand dollars in reward payments, an incentive that helps bring in the tips.
Meanwhile, Ambrose hopes local businesses who benefit from Crime Stoppers will help keep them afloat, "As a police service, as a police chief and as a former investigator, I'd hate to lose that opportunity to gather that information because I really do support the program."
Crime Stoppers of Grey Bruce is hosting a fundraising baseball tournament August 17th at Duncan McLellan Park in Owen Sound. They are still looking for teams to sign up. Reid says they want 16 teams and they have about half of that. Registration is $275 a team.
They also want to hear from people who are interested in being a board member. The administration office number is (519) 371-6078.
Crime Stoppers Grey Bruce can be found online at crimestop-gb.org
To call the Crime Stoppers hotline dial 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS)