With help from Columbus Council, the Columbus Police Department has secured additional help to fight crime in neighborhoods.
The 10-member council gave its approval for the department to accept a $10,000 donation from an anonymous donor during its Tuesday council meeting. The donated money is aimed at the department establishing an informant fund to assist in clearing cases.
The informant fund will be maintained by the Investigative Services Division, a department under the command of Police Maj. J.D. Hawk. The division will establish a formal procedure by which payments will be made to informants.
Officials hope the fund will motivate residents in the community to offer information that will lead to the apprehension of wanted persons.
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Hawk was out of the office and not available for comment but he has said police detectives go to the scene of crimes with many witnesses or bystanders but no one saw anything. Police need information to go after the people who enter neighborhoods and commit crimes, he said.
Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan said his office has recorded 25 homicides for 2018 while the police total is slightly lower at 23. The totals differ between police and the coroner’s officer because homicides may include motor vehicle fatalities, accidental shootings and other deaths that do not result in murder investigations. Last year, Columbus had 43 homicides, including 35 investigated by police as murders.
To keep track of the funds, the informant’s fund will be audited by the Police Chief Ricky Boren and his Budget Office on a regular basis.
There was no cost to the city to accept the private funds.