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Thu, June 27

Silent Witness rewards set all-time record

The numbers are in and the good news is that in 2008 Yavapai Silent Witness had the best year ever in its 28-year history.

The bad news is that, for the first time, the organization is feeling the financial pinch of that success: It handed out $29,500 in cash rewards to successful callers, but only took in $16,018.50 in donations from participating law enforcement agencies.

What saved the program this year is that the program had money left over from previous years that it used to pay callers, said Steve Skurja, program director.

But, he said, "Those extra funds used in 2008 could have been used for marketing, office supplies, phone bills (and other things)."

Here's the breakdown: In 2008 Silent Witness received 1,300 calls that lead to 224 felons going to jail and a multitude of misdemeanor charges.

In 2007 Silent Witness received 785 calls that lead to 184 felony arrests and other misdemeanor charges and paid out $26,550 in cash rewards.

When dispatchers receive calls on the program's 1-800 line, they assign them to the appropriate law enforcement agency. If the call involves drugs, they route it to either Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking (PANT) or to the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office Special Crimes Unit (SPU).

In 2008, Silent Witness assigned 163 calls to YCSO, up from 118 in 2007; 138 calls to PANT, down from 141 calls in 2007; 75 calls to the Prescott Police Department, up from 49 calls in 2007; 63 calls to the Prescott Valley Police Department, up from 36 calls in 2007; and six calls to the Chino Valley Police Department, the same number as in 2007.

Additional calls went to agencies outside of the Prescott area.

Skurja said the program would appreciate donations from the public. People can make out checks to Yavapai Silent Witness and mail them to Yavapai Silent Witness, P.O. Box 2524, Prescott, AZ 86302.

For more information on the program visit its website at www.yavapaisw.com.

Anyone with information on a crime should call 1-800-932-3232.

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