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Willmar Police Department again partners with Minnesota Crime Stoppers in 2023

Willmar Police Chief Police Jim Felt has announced the department is partnering with Crime Stoppers Minnesota within the organization's 2023 Law Enforcement Partnership program.

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WILLMAR — The Willmar Police Department will partner with Crime Stoppers of Minnesota again in 2023, according to a news release from the organization.

Crime Stoppers is a way for citizens to report tips on criminal activity anonymously. Those that provide information leading to a felony arrest not only remain anonymous but also may be eligible to collect up to a $1,000 reward paid by Crime Stoppers.

According to the release, the program is meant to encourage community members within the city to report any knowledge they have about any crime, criminal or fugitive.

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Willmar Police Chief Jim Felt

Willmar used to have its own Crime Stoppers program, but it was disbanded around 2012. Willmar police have since partnered with the statewide Crime Stoppers program, according to Willmar Police Chief Jim Felt.

In 2022, Crime Stoppers shared tips from the public with 207 law enforcement agencies across Minnesota.

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“As a nonprofit organization, we are focused on helping people ‘do the right thing’ in a manner that keeps them safe" by preserving anonymity, said Crime Stoppers Minnesota Chair Robert Dennistoun in the release.

On average, Crime Stoppers of Minnesota sends 300 anonymous tips each month to law enforcement agencies, according to Dennistoun.

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Felt said tips from the public aid police immensely in their investigations. Tips to Willmar police have helped directly with the arrests of people with outstanding warrants, those involved in drive-by shootings within the city and recently led police to arrest suspects found with stolen property.

"A majority of the tips we receive are about narcotics," Felt said.

He said often police get tips on known subjects, but sometimes a tip can lead investigators to something they were previously unaware of and can be a key building block to helping establish a criminal case.

Felt said Willmar residents aren't limited to tips within Willmar. A Willmar resident with knowledge about a crime or criminal activity that occurred in St. Cloud, for example, can still leave a tip.

Every anonymous tip is given a tip ID number, and can be followed up on the tip-followup page by entering that ID number and a chosen password.

The Willmar Police Department invites people to use the tip line to anonymously submit information they have about crimes to help solve cases. Police said providing information in this manner helps save time for investigators while also protecting the anonymous source from retribution.

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People with knowledge about a crime or fugitive can give information by adding the free P3 Tips app to their smartphone. They can also call Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477, or go to www.crimestoppersmn.org . Any information provided to Crime Stoppers will be sent to the relevant investigating agency.

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