Funding bill failure has Crime Stoppers looking elsewhere

Published 5:00 am Monday, June 26, 2000

The failure of a bill to help fund Brookhaven-Lincoln CountyCrime Stoppers has leaders of the local organization looking forother money options until another legislative attempt can bemade.

In an unusual turn, the local and private bill that would haveallowed $1 to be added to misdemeanor fines in municipal andjustice court to fund Crime Stoppers died in committee during thisyear’s legislative session. The Brookhaven-Lincoln Countyorganization’s bill was one of 14 that was never taken up by theHouse Local and Private Committee.

“Every Crime Stoppers bill died,” sad Dist. 53 Rep. Bobby Moak,who handled submission of the local organization’s bill.

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The failure was unusual in that local and private bills areroutinely passed unless someone from the community involvedobjects. Rep. Jim Simpson, chairman of the Local and PrivateCommittee, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Mentioning some non-Crime Stoppers local and private bills, Moakindicated the additional money generated by the bills may have beenthe issue.

“All revenue-producing local and private bills died,” Moaksaid.

Lincoln County Sheriff Lynn Boyte said it was disappointing thata local community can do the ground work to get a Crime Stopperschapter going, have businesses donate a “sizable amount of cash”for initial efforts, and then have one committee chairman stop abill that would help the group.

“As a result, 14 Crime Stoppers bills that were up for start uplike ours were denied,” Boyte said.

In those 14 areas, the sheriff said $1 from people who break thelaw could have gone toward law enforcement efforts to fight andprevent crime.

“It definitely didn’t help us,” Boyte said about the bill’sfailure. “It looks like it’s more a shot in the arm for crime andlawlessness than for law and order.”

Local Crime Stoppers officials said another attempt at gettingthe bill passed will be made in the 2001 legislative session. Inthe meantime, other funding options will be explored, said HelenFunk, chapter president.

“We’re going to have to do a fund-raiser or something,” Funksaid.

Directors are expected to discuss plans at tonight’s boardmeeting.

Regarding local chapter success, Boyte said tips received overthe Crime Stoppers hot line have led to two arrests. Both casesinvolved burglaries, he said.

“We’ve still no word on our initial Crime of the Week,” Boytesaid.

Authorities are continuing to seek information in the shootingdeath of 51-year-old Alfred Jones.

Jones was found in a white early to mid-1980s Chevrolet pick uptruck on Arthur Drive near the McCall Creek bridge on July 20,1999. He had been shot at close range between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30p.m. that day.

Boyte said anyone with information in the shooting is encouragedto contact Crime Stoppers at 823-0150.