WJ police start award system to fight crime

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In an effort to combat rising crime rates in West Jefferson, the village police department will establish a reward on a case-by-case basis for information leading to the arrest and conviction of criminals.

Residents are encouraged to call the police department—anonymously—with any information related to an unsolved crime. In return, if the information provided leads to an arrest of a person or persons that committed a crime in the village, a committee composed of the mayor, the police chief, and the council police committee will meet to determine a reward amount.

In ensuring anonymity at all times, the program eliminates fear of retaliation on the part of the criminal. It also affords residents the opportunity to disclose information without the added hassle of filling out a police report, speaking to an officer face-to-face, or testifying in court.

The police department will operate the program on a daily basis, providing 24-hour availability to answer calls year-round. It will also be responsible for investigating anonymous information.

While information imparted by residents does not give police the required evidence to arrest an individual suspected of a crime, it can help point officers in the right direction in order to catch the criminal.

In order to maintain anonymity, callers will receive a code number that will eventually allow them to claim a reward once an arrest and conviction is made. Callers must continually check with the police department to inquire as to whether they are eligible for a reward.

Also, as part of the initiative, the village is asking local media outlets to publicize unsolved crimes, as well as any details.

In other news, the street department acquired a 2008 Ford pick-up truck. The truck cost the village approximately $25,400 and will serve day-to-day opera-tions and aide in tasks such as the disbursement of mosquito repellent. The truck also will be used to plow snow in winter weather emergencies.

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