In 1979, a citizen of the Lawton community came to the police station and brought with him a newspaper from Lubbock, Texas. Inside that paper was an article where the Lubbock Police Department was “Spotlighting the Crime of the Week”. Assistant Chief of Police, Jack Partin, started researching what Crime Stoppers was and if it would be worthwhile for the Lawton community. After his research, Mr. Partin contacted the founder of the Crime Stoppers program out of Albuquerque, New Mexico and obtained further information. After speaking with the Chief of Police and Mr. Wayne Gilley, longtime mayor of Lawton, the support needed to make the program successful was found. Mr. Bill Bentley of the Lawton Constitution presented the first check to start paying rewards. Due to this donation, Crime Line of Lawton was formed. In 1981, Crime Line of Lawton changed its’ name to Crime Stoppers of Lawton and was incorporated in May of 1981 with the Secretary of the State of Oklahoma. In 1991, Drug Busters of S.W. Oklahoma was formed and incorporated also.
The purpose of Crimestoppers/Drugbusters is to offer witnesses to a crime a way to provide information to help solve crimes without revealing their identity. Citizens are a key link to solving crime. They have more eyes and ears than all police officers combined. They see and hear things that often could be used to solve crimes but are afraid to say anything for fear of retaliation or other reasons.
Crimestoppers/Drugbusters is a program where the information can be conveyed to the proper authorities and no one knows who provided the information.To encourage citizens to call in the information, rewards are offered based on a set scale. Many citizens call and refuse the reward. They do not want money for turning in a criminal but do want a safe way to reveal critical information without anybody knowing who they are. While Caller ID devices are available, Crimestoppers/Drugbusters does not use them. The integrity and credibility of the program is too important to jeopardize the faith of the citizens that their identity will be protected.
How It Works
When a citizen sees suspicious activity or knows that a crime is being committed, they can call Crimestoppers/Drugbusters at 355-4636. To be eligible for a reward, it must come in as a Crimestoppers/Drugbusters tip and the information must result in an arrest and charges being filed in a felony case. CALLERS DO NOT HAVE TO GIVE THEIR NAME! They won’t even be asked their name.
Once the information has been taken, the Investigator will assign a code number to the caller. The information will be investigated if it is sufficient to pursue. If an arrest is made, the caller must then call Crimestoppers/Drugbusters again and ask about the possibility of a reward. The caller must give their code number and may be asked questions to verify that it is the same person who called originally. When satisfied that it is the caller that provided the information that broke the case, the investigator will provide instructions about how to collect the reward.
The caller will be instructed to go to a particular banking institution to a particular drive through window. Upon arrival at the window, the caller will merely identify himself or herself by their code number. When the teller hears the number, the teller will then send cash money through the drive through window. The caller never has to reveal their identity nor sign any receipts. The amount of the reward varies and is set up on a schedule. The reward may be split if more than one person gave key information that helped solve the case.
If the caller wants to double their money, they can voluntarily reveal their identity and agree to testify in court about the case.