WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Wichita Falls Crime Stoppers officials are concerned about a bill in the Texas legislature that could affect the anonymity of its tipsters.
For more than 30 years, Crime Stoppers has been key in helping investigators in our area put people behind bars.
“It is a nonprofit that provides a resource to these law enforcement officers and other departments for them to get information in investigations,” Crime Stoppers Coordinator Brian Arias said.
One of the things Crime Stoppers prides itself on is protecting its tipsters.
Currently, tips are not provided to the court; instead, the courts are given a generic overview of what the tip is. But that could change as House Bill 1233, authored by 104th District Rep. Jessica Gonzalez, is making its way through the bill process.
“What this would do is, once that subject has been arrested or charged in court, that tip information would be provided to the courts because right now it is protected by Texas code section 414,” Arias said.
Arias thinks this could greatly affect and stop people from wanting to submit tips.
“People would be reluctant to put in information because they are afraid somehow it may end up in court, and they may be looked at by other people or these criminal elements may be looking at them closer,” Arias said.
That could prove to be detrimental to the local Crime Stoppers.
“This would dismantle Crime Stoppers completely,” Arias said.
For a look at the bill, click here.
We spoke with 69th District Rep. James Frank’s office, and while he was not available for an interview, they said the bill still has to be heard by a subcommittee first before it’s ever up for a vote.
They also said if you have any feelings toward this bill, let your voice be heard by contacting your local representative.
We also reached out to 104th District Rep. Gonzalez for why she is pushing for the bill, but we have yet to hear back.