By Jeff Kurrus
Helping law enforcement eliminate poaching in Nebraska just got a little easier, thanks to a new program by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Law Enforcement division and continued support from Wildlife Crimestoppers.
The program debuts in January and allows people to anonymously report those suspected of wildlife violations. “You submit online,” said Commission Law Enforcement Assistant Administrator Duane Arp. “Describe the situation and the location. Then answer if you want to be contacted by an officer. You can submit pictures of the violation, and even tell if you’re interested in a reward.”
The reward money is raised by Wildlife Crimestoppers, the flagship program of the Nebraska Wildlife Protectors Association. Roger Roberts, one of 18 Wildlife Crimestoppers board members across the state, said their mission to protect the state’s natural resources is simple. “99 percent of the people in the outdoors are wonderful folks. We just want to help those people anyway we can because the game belongs to everyone. We just want to make sure people can’t rob the bank.”
“This is a great group to work with and extremely supportive of law enforcement,” added Arp. “They ask us what we need to do our job, and they help us with it.”
What law enforcement often needs is funding, and Wildlife Crimestoppers garners this through banquets, raffles, private donations and a number of other ways. This funding goes toward a number of areas, including aircraft details and flight charges, the traveling trailer used by law enforcement at public events and rewards.
In a poaching case a few years ago, Roberts said, an illegal number of dead pronghorn were found in Morrill County but law enforcement had no leads. After a conversation between Arp and the Crimestoppers members, a $2,000 reward for information was posted in the area the animals were found. Within a day, law enforcement had a suspect.
“We have to rely on the public’s interest and care to get involved,” said Arp. “Wildlife Crimestoppers helps so much with that.”
And now, people will have another option to help others abide by Nebraska’s wildlife laws. Once a person fills out the online form at OutdoorNebraska.org/wildlifecrimestoppers and hits submit, the field officer in that county is contacted.
Assistant Division Administrator Travis Shepler, who created the new online site, said, “In today’s information age, we’re happy to offer a digital option to report wildlife violations. With this form, we’ll be able to utilize technology in new ways to collect more accurate and timely information to our conservation officers to assist with their investigations.”
With continued support from Wildlife Crimestoppers, this new method will try to ensure that the bank never gets robbed.
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