The Monticello Police Department, in conjunction with Monticello Economic Commission (MEDC) and other law enforcement agencies, has unveiled its fully operational crime Tips Line. The Tips Line number will be 723-LEAD, or 723-5323.
The program is the first of its kind in Drew County. It will enable citizens to call the Police Department, report criminal activity and remain anonymous if the caller chooses.
The Tips Line was conceived through conversations and meetings between members of Twenty for the Future (Twenty), the membership organization of the Economic Development Fund of Monticello/MEDC, and local law enforcement. Twenty members asked how local business and community leaders could assist in making Monticello a safer and better place for our children and our future. It was determined that everyone wants a safer community, but that few opportunities were available for the average citizen to help fight crime in our community.
Through the Tips Line, callers may be eligible for a cash reward if their information leads to an arrest and in some cases, conviction. Reward amounts will be commensurate with the severity of the crime that is reported. Each caller will receive a code with which to check the status of their tip for tracking purposes.
Once information is received, it will be forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agency. For example, if the caller reports a crime in the county, that information will be forwarded to the Drew County Sheriff’s Department. If information is received about a crime in another county, state or city, that information will be forwarded to those agencies by the Monticello Police Department.
Chief Jason Akers said that the Tips Line is a tool for concerned citizens to use to report crime, without having to come to the police department or have an officer come to the complainant’s home. Many times, citizens want to help make their neighborhoods safer and they have valuable information but are afraid of reprisals from the people they are calling about. The Tips Line will allow anyone to report crime or information about crime without that worry.
Chief Akers praised MEDC and Twenty for the Future for their involvement and being the driving force in this initiative. Akers stated, “MEDC and Twenty members recognize that for Monticello and Drew County to have a vibrant economy, the city and county must be a safe place to live and do business.” Akers praised the vision of the MEDC staff and 20 For the Future members and the local financial institutions, Citizens Bank, Commercial Bank, and Union Bank who are contributing to the reward fund as he said “Without the financial contributions of our local banks, this would not be possible.”