New "Trust Pays" program offers money for tips - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

New "Trust Pays" program offers money for tips

Local school officials want students to know that trusting them pays.

The new Trust Pays program gives Memphis and Shelby County students cash for reporting crimes. It's a partnership between the schools and Crime Stoppers.
    
During the 2005-2006 school year, Memphis City Schools reported more than 30 cases of illegal firearms possession and about 480 cases of illegal drug possession.
    
Officials hope this program will help bring those numbers down.
    
To reduce violence among students, educators are going to the source. East High School Principal Fred Curry says, "Kids have more information than we ever will have. So they know. That's where it starts. And they know that they have the power now."
    
Power - and money.
    
If a student knows that another kid has a gun at school, or about drug dealing or a fight that may break out, that student could get cash for telling someone who works at the school.
    
But even the best teenagers can have a hard time ratting out their friends. Junior Sierra Nelson tells Action news Five, "They don't want to get in trouble, they don't want to get into a fight." Officials hope the cash incentive - and a promise of anonymity - will make that decision easier.   
    
East High School Principal Fred Curry says getting paid is the icing on the cake.
    
Curry talks to his students about how their choices affect their school - if they want their school to be safe, their choices can make it that way. The cash rewards just make it better.
    
Principals will decide the amount of each reward - based on what type of information the student passes along.
    
According to Crime Stoppers, rewards average about $200.

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