Manuel encourages citizens to use tip line

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 11, 2005

DEMOPOLIS-For almost a month citizens of Demopolis have been given the opportunity to anonymously report behavior they felt was harmful to the city’s image and its residents. However, the number has not produced the calls that had been expected.

Demopolis Police Chief Jeff Manuel said he would like for people to keep in mind the number, 289-1475, was available for use.

The number was announced at a press conference in late June by Demopolis Mayor Cecil P. Williamson and Manuel after two anonymous citizens decided to take a proactive approach to solving recent vandalism crimes and out up a $1,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible. Manuel said so far the phone has not been ringing off the hook.

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“We haven’t really been able to get many people to call,” Manuel said. “We certainly want them to keep in mind that the number is available and use it.”

The number allows anyone with information pertaining to crimes around the city to share what they know without giving a name. Manuel wanted everyone to keep in mind that their calls would go to voice mail and they did not have to identify themselves.

“We haven’t gotten many calls,” Manuel said. “We do want everyone to realize that this number is available and it is strictly voice mail. They can call it and no one will answer. They can record their tip anonymously on the machine.”

The line has no caller identification and does not have to be used exclusively for reports of vandalism. Manuel said the line could be used to report crimes of any kind.

“There is no caller identification,” Manuel said. “We don’t want to know who they are, we just want to get the information.

This line isn’t just for vandalism. They can call us with tips on drugs or other crimes.”

Demopolis Mayor Cecil P. Williamson said citizens could call the hotline or contact her directly at city hall.

“We have received a couple of calls, but we want to encourage more to call,” Williamson said. “They can call the number or call me directly, we just want them to call.”

The idea for the line came about when pictures submitted by Demopolis Park and Recreation Director Mark Pettus to local media outlets disturbed citizens. Pettus sent pictures and a letter to the editor to local papers illustrating recent damage to Demopolis parks and other facilities throughout the city.

Pettus’s efforts got the attention of the two citizens who offered the reward as well as local leaders.