Friday, January 28, 2011

Dallas officer accused in theft from CrimeStoppers

What if no one had provided a tip? What if no one had asked any questions?

On Wednesday a female Dallas police officer was arrested at work and hauled off to jail, charged with embezzling CrimeStoppers' reward money. The money was intended for tips provided by citizens, but reports are that she kept the redemption codes and used them herself.

I am reminded, of course, of my efforts to ask questions of the CrimeStoppers for McHenry County organization. As an unsuccessful attempt to learn the names of officers from the McHenry County Sheriff's Department in the late summer, I was finally given (only) a Woodstock P.O. Box to which I could write. I wrote a letter in September, asking for information. It took exactly a month for the Secretary to reply, and she didn't provide the information; so I wrote back. That was on October 18. Have I heard from her, or any officer of CrimeStoppers for McHenry County, yet? No, as in N-O.

When I get ignored or stiff-armed, the ante just goes up.

Now I want to see not only who the officers are and where and when the organization meets, I want to see the financial records - the revenues and the expenditures. And the report for the year 2010. I already know that in 2009 they didn't pay out much in tips and didn't keep very good records of the number of tips; there were 118 tips received in 2009, but an additional ten numbers were issued; however, there were no tips or information with those numbers. Was it just a "bookkeeping error"? Rewards of $3,400 were paid out on 12 tips, which is an average of $283. So, when they advertise "up to $1,000", that's exactly what they mean. The reward isn't $1,000; it's "up to $1,000."

What else did CrimeStoppers for McHenry County spend money on? Financial support for purchase of LEADS on line (sic) for Sheriff's Office Investigations; financial support of 22nd Judicial Family Violence Domestic Violence Symposium; financial assistance with purchase of Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention/Car Seat Trailer; financial funding for Gang Specialist 32-hour training to all departments in McHenry County; purchase of TV, DVD player, and dry-erase board for MCSO communications divisions training room for "Telecommunications Appreciation Week".

I'm also trying to find out when (or if) the Woodstock Area Crime Stoppers group met in January. They were supposed to elect officers at the October meeting, but did not. They were to have a meeting in January; if they did, it's a secret. But wait; there's one more business day in January...

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