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Local Crimestoppers Organizing
Monday, 16 March 2009

March 16--  A non-profit group is organizing in the Vidalia area to help local law enforcement solve crimes.

At a meeting Monday night at Vidalia city hall, representatives from the Vidalia Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs agreed to serve on a Crimestoppers Board and elected Sam Polk as its first president.

Crimestopper Board Officers are (L-R) treasurer Charles Gillis, VP James Thompson, secretary Cheryl Gay and president Sam Polk.

"We're just trying to assist our law enforcement officers and make Vidalia, Toombs County and Montgomery County a better and safe place to live," Polk said.

The Crimestoppers will offer rewards for unsolved crimes, a practice which has proved successful in many towns including nearby Dublin.  "We went to a Dublin Crimestoppers meeting and at that meeting they presented their 75th case.  They've only been a chapter for 14 months and out of 75 cases, they've solved 46 cases, so it's a pretty good average," he said.

Crimestoppers pays cash rewards according to PHil Thacker who helps lead the program in Dublin.  "We have a toll free number where they can call in an anonymous tip.  We give them a code number that only they know, and if we solve that crime, we'll say go by the bank and get your money.  They go to the bank, hand them that code number, and we'll hand them cash on the spot and we won't ask who they are.  The rewards range from a hundred to a thousand dollars," Thacker reports.

The Vidalia-area Crimestoppers board wants to work with all area law enforcement including the Vidalia and Lyons police departments and the sheriff's offices in Toombs and Montgomery counties.  The rewards are generated through privage donations and include no tax dollars. Seed money has already been promised by the Dublin Crimestoppers and the Vidalia Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs.

Newly elected board officers include vice-president James Thompson, secretary Cheryl Gay and treasurer Charles Gillis.

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