LaFayette council agrees to partner with Central Alabama Crime Stoppers

Published 10:01 am Wednesday, December 16, 2020

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On Monday, Tony Garrette and Ray Wagner, who are the executive director and director of law enforcement liaison of Central Alabama Crime Stoppers, made a presentation to the LaFayette City Council on why the city should join in the group’s network of cities throughout the state.

The Central Alabama Crime Stoppers are a non-profit organization with a goal to fight, solve crimes and deter crime. They accomplish this goal by offering financial rewards for tips on local crimes.

“We offer a tip-distribution management system for law enforcement. We ask people to call that number when they see or hear something evolving crime,” Wagner said. “If they feel that it is a threat to the community, we want them to call us.”

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There is an 800 number and a 215-STOP number associated with Central Alabama Crime Stoppers and they have their own app.

When there is a crime committed, Central Alabama Crime Stoppers reaches out to the local police department, who will then send over a mugshot or video of the crime. Once they receive that information, Central Alabama Crime Stoppers sends out a media package to more than 240 media outlets, who in turn let the public know about the crime.

“From the time that we get information, it takes us about seven minutes to turn that information over to law enforcement,” Wagner said. “We live in a day and age now that people have a fear of calling the police, or they can’t call the police because of retaliation or it is too darn hard and I don’t have the time. We offer a simple approach.”

If a tip leads to an arrest, Central Alabama Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000.

“We want that information right now and as quickly as possible,” Wagner said.

Central Alabama Crime Stoppers serves 17 counties around the state and several more cities. Valley and Lanett had already signed up with Central Alabama Crime Stoppers before Monday’s council meeting. The Chambers County Sheriff’s Office will most likely be signing up with the non-profit as well.

“It takes communication between the law enforcement and the community in order to identify a person,” Wagner said. “This is not a snitching program. This is an empowerment program.”

Most of the workers that are involved with Central Alabama Crime Stoppers are former police officers.

Since LaFayette Police Chief George Rampey had been on the Chambers County Crime Stoppers, who recently merged with the Central Alabama Crime Stoppers, he brought the Central Alabama Crime Stoppers to speak with the council.

“It’s a very good resource to have,” Rampey said.

While it is free to be part of the Central Alabama Crime Stoppers organization, the organization does ask for donations. Rampey said that if the city were to join, the LaFayette Police Department would use some of its budget for the donation.

The council unanimously approved the motion to sign up with Central Alabama Crime Stoppers.