Grayson County Sheriff Tom Watt announced the return of the Crime Stoppers program to the county on Tuesday.
Watt said the program lapsed in Grayson County, in part, because there wasn’t a local bank that was willing to handle the money involved. That meant local tipsters had to drive to Dallas to pick up their checks, which ranged from $250 to $500, with most being in the lower range.
Watt told the Grayson County Commissioners Court that Landmark Bank has stepped up and will handle that part of the program that pays people for tips that lead to an arrest and indictment of a suspect in a crime case. Each Crime Stopper program is organized as a not-for-profit organization with a civilian community board of directors that provides direction for financial and promotional activities. Watt said Grayson County will be part of the program already in place in Dallas and Collin counties.
“We felt like it was a very strong program that we wanted to bring here,” Watt said.
Watt then called up Landmark Bank’s Randy Hensarling and Grayson County District Attorney Brett Smith.
“We are delighted to be able to help in this,” Hensarling said.
He said it was a bit of a challenge because identifying the person getting money is a big deal in banking and the Crime Stoppers program requires the person getting the money be allowed to remain anonymous. But, Hensarling said, his bank found a way to make it work.
Smith said he thinks the county has needed the program for a long time and he looks forward to the innovative ways that Watt plans to use in order to roll out the program in Grayson County.
“He wants to put this in the schools and that is going to help with the school resource officers and a lot of the problems that they are having,” Smith said.
Grayson County Judge Bill Magers asked how the Sheriff’s Office will get the word out about the program and whether public service announcements would be involved. Watt said those will be used but the program will also use social media and other means to reach out to those who might have information to provide to help solve crimes.
“Where does the money come from?” Commissioner Jeff Whitmire asked.
Watt explained the funds come from court fees.
“It’s a nominal fee,” Magers added.
The commissioners were not required to take any action on the program Tuesday. Watt said he just wanted to make sure the roll out of the program happened at the Commissioners Court. Watt also praised Sherman attorney Clyde Siebman for his part in getting the program restarted in Grayson County.