Crime Stoppers gets $15,000 to expand high school program
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Oct. 22, 2006 - The local Crime Stoppers program received a $15,000 grant which will help fund costs for the local call center, as well as training to expand the high school program, which started in Sulphur Springs, to include a tip program at all seven county schools, according to Crime Stoppers coordinator Scotty Sewell.

The Hopkins County program is one of 53 Crime Stoppers programs across the state to benefit from a $508,809 in grants awarded by the Crime Stoppers Assistance Fund and distributed by the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division.

�Texans in every community benefit from these organizations,� Gov. Rick Perry said in a press release. �By strengthening the resources and tools available to Crime Stoppers programs, we raise public awareness, reduce crime and increase safety.�

The Crime Stoppers grants are distributed to state-certified Crime Stoppers programs to support a 24-hour informant hotline and provide training for law enforcement officials, students and faculty sponsors. 

According to Sewell, the $15,000 awarded to the local Crime Stoppers program will not just help with costs associated with maintaining the call system, which is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The message center records all of the caller's information, then sends it by e-mail to Sewell, who then contacts appropriate agencies about the call information.

The funding will also help cover the cost of expanding the high school Crime Stoppers tip program so that it’s implemented at all seven Hopkins County school districts this year. It also provides money so that representatives from each school district can attend a training conference regarding the program, Sewell said Friday morning.

Each year, the Governor's Criminal Justice Division awards more than $113 million in grants for a variety of juvenile justice, criminal justice and victim services programs.

The CJD also awarded more than $14.4 million in State Criminal Justice Planning Fund grants to 122 programs that focus on reducing crime and improving the Texas criminal and juvenile justice systems. Ark-Tex Council of Governments was among the East Texas Entities to receive a portion of that funding, according to the governor's office.

ATCOG was awarded $88,607 to provide basic and specialized law enforcement training to peace officers, dispatchers and jailers in Bowie, Cass, Delta, Franklin, Hopkins, Lamar, Morris, Red River and Titus counties.

The State Criminal Justice Planning Fund supports programs that enhance the criminal and juvenile justice systems through essential services and assistance. Grant recipients include local units of government independent school districts, non-profit corporations, hospitals, universities, colleges, community supervision and corrections departments, law enforcement agencies and councils of governments.

�Through these funds, Texas can better support its citizens and provide them with necessary resources to protect themselves and their loved ones,� said Perry.

According to Cletis Millsap, county judge and treasure of ATCOG executive committee, the funds are made available on a first come, first served basis to those eligible in the nine county service area to assist with the cost of the basic peace officer certification course, jailer and continued educational training for experienced licensed peace officers. 

"We are very pleased to be able to take advantage of this grant. We have trained a lot of peace officers with this funding," Millsap said.

More than 651 officers have been trained using those funds, including 39 who took the basic peace officer certification class, 39 basic jailer training, 576 specialized training and 29 went for training out of region, male and females who are either employed as peace officers or sponsored by a law enforcement agency.

Millsap said that while the funds are available to the all agencies in all nine counties, it is up to those agencies to apply for funding. He said he will however, be sending a memo to both the county sheriff and city police chief to let them know the funds are available, and encourage each office to apply for funding for training. 

Overall, over the last six years Hopkins County has received $18 million of the $56 million in grants awarded by ATCOG, meaning Hopkins County benefited from 32 percent of all grant funding distributed by ATCOG to the  nine counties spanning from Miller County, Ark., and across Northeast Texas from Bowie and Red River counties to Hopkins County, according to Millsap.

In addition to Millsap, Sulphur Springs City Councilman Chris Brown also represents Sulphur Spring sand Hopkins County as  an ATCOG executive committee member. Hopkins County's representatives on the Regional Criminal Justice Advisory Committee included Hopkins County Fire Chief Carl Nix, Sulphur Springs Police Chief Jim Bayuk, Hopkins County Fire Prevention Office/Investigator Steve Caudle and  Precinct 4 Commissioner Don Patterson.

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