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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Overview: Texas 10 Most Wanted/Texas Stash House Rewards Programs: Part 1- Texas Most Wanted

The overview was presented by Adam Unnasch with DPS.  The two programs are run from DPS CID and the Office of the Governor (OOG).  The program concept evolved from the Crime Stopper idea.  The first Crime Stoppers was run by the Albuquerque PD after a fatal shooting in 1976.  The first Crime Stoppers in Texas was in El Paso in 1978. Governor Richards established the Texas Most Wanted Fugitive Team in 1993 by executive order (AWR 93-5, available here ).  Less than 24 hours after the first Texas Top 10 was publicized, a tip was received that led to the arrest of the first fugitive brought to justice under the program.

In 2012, the program had a record year and paid out over $93,000.  In 2103 the program had a record year for fugitives apprehended, at 32.  There have been 137 captures since 2010.

There are two lists under the Top Ten model:
Texas 10 Most Wanted
Texas 10 Most Wanted Sex Offenders

To be considered for inclusion as one of Texas' Top Ten Most Wanted, a fugitive must have:
Multiple warrants open
A parole violation
A history of violent crimes

Other possible factors:
Relationship with a cartel
Relationship with a prevalent gang
Contributes to border violence
A link to a high profile case
To be considered for inclusion as one of Texas' Top Ten Most Wanted Sex Offenders, a fugitive must have:
An active warrant
A failure to register as a sex offender

Rewards for tips in the Texas 10 Most Wanted list run from $5,000 to $50,000.  Rewards for the Texas 10 Most Wanted ex Offenders  run from $2,000 to $5,000.  The rewards are determined by a point system, which includes factors such as gang membership, career criminal designation, commission of violent crimes, number of parole warrants, and other warrants.

Anonymity is preserved in all methods of providing tips  though the following process:  the tipster gets a "tip number"when contacting the hotline.  If an arrest results from the tip associated with that tip number, the OOG (Office Of the Governor) will authorize a payment to that "tip number".  The tipster will have to contact the hotline again and confirm their "tip number" has been authorized for payment.  The tipster will then arrange for a payment to be made at a bank at a specific time.  The tipster MUST HAVE their "tip number" to be paid ( See the DPS link How a tipster gets paid ). The reward is tax exempt.  By law, the state cannot be compelled to provide tipster information in court.

There are five methods of providing tips:
1. By phone at 1-800-252-8477(TIPS)
2. By texting 274637(CRIMES)
3. By going to the DPS web site and opening up the fugitive's individual poster and clicking on the “Submit a Tip Online” link.
5. Through the DPS mobile app, available here


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