For decades the Crime Stoppers program was an integral tool used by law enforcement nationwide.

Recently however, the Crime Stoppers program in Dodge City has come to an end.

"Funding was an issue along with low membership," Dodge City Crime Stoppers president Stanna Unruh said. "We also struggled to get members to join the board and had low attendance at our meetings.

"We tried going from monthly meetings to quarterly to see if that would increase our numbers but it didn't work out."

Crime Stoppers was started in 1982 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and it is a hotline set up for citizens to be able to give crime tips with a possible reward given for the information.

"The reward-based program was not performing but for a few people working the program to turn in others with petty warrants and then soaking up the funding," Dodge City Police Chief Drew Francis said.

"Most of our useful tips now come in via Facebook or tips411."

Crime Stoppers was to be used as a tool however according to Unruh, because of the lack of help from the community, the program was supported mostly by the Dodge City Police Department and Ford County Sheriff's Office.

"It was not ideally how the program was suppose to work," Unruh said. "We were suppose to just be a tool to help law enforcement and they ended up having to bear the brunt of their time and resources which could have been used elsewhere.

"They contributed to the hotline and we needed to have the resources and the means to be able to change that that we weren't able to."

Another factor that went into the closing was the use of technology especially within social media.

"The technology such as texting and various social media platforms is being used by the people who are typically likely to report tips now-a-days," Francis said. "The DCPD have two different Facebook pages for that and we utilize tips411 for people to text their tips in anonymously."

Unruh added, "Times have changed. Access to law enforcement has changed that don't require face-to-face meetings like they did in the 1980s when Crime Stoppers was started.

"Now they can use cell phones and email to develop a trust with an officer without every having to see them.

"I would like to thank two board members that were with us since the beginning, Kirk Schraeder and Vickie Williamson.

"We needed to get more of the community involved but they stuck with us through everything."

To contact the writer email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com