LHS students could be rewarded for reporting crimes.
Lawrence High School students soon will be able to report criminal activity at their school and possibly be paid for doing so.
The LHS Student Council recently agreed to start an LHS Crime Stoppers program at the school. The program will be student-run.
"I want to give them the feeling of running it all themselves," said Lawrence police officer Mike Barrow, who serves as a school resource officer at LHS. "It's going to be a students-taking-care-of-students type of program."
An LHS Crime Stoppers board will be established. It will include some adults, Barrow said.
The need for the program at the high school isn't critical, Barrow said. But he thinks it could help solve and prevent some problems.
"Last year, we had quite a few crimes that were reported that went unsolved," he said.
In one incident, he said, several cars were vandalized.
"I know that there are students out there who know who did it," he said.
And the program will be helpful in handling gun, drug and theft cases, Barrow said.
Under the Crime Stoppers program, students will call an as-yet-undetermined telephone number and leave a tip on an answering machine. The students will be asked to identify themselves only by a code name, Barrow said. The LHS Crime Stoppers board will be responsible for retrieving tips. Depending on the tip, it will be turned over to school officials or to law enforcement.
If a crime is solved because of the information, the caller will be eligible for a reward, Barrow said.
Students will be responsible for fund raising, Barrow said, but he's already received commitments for money to get the students started.
He said LHS students are concerned about the school's image.
"Obviously, the vast majority of students are good people and they're really looking for something to do to show the rest of the community that they're not a bunch of gang-bangers and drug-users," Barrow said. "They want to do the right thing."
Michael Young, Student Council secretary, said similar programs have been successful at other schools.
"Lawrence High has gotten big enough and urban enough to need such a thing," he said.
The LHS program likely won't get into full swing until next month, he said.
"We're hoping it's a preventative measure," Young said, "not necessarily reactive. Its presence should be a deterrent."
The LHS Crime Stoppers program joins two other programs in the county: Crime Stoppers of Lawrence and Douglas County, 843-TIPS, and KU Crime Stoppers, 864-8888.
Mike Browning, an LHS assistant principal, said he's pleased students agreed to undertake the project. Browning also is active in Crime Stoppers of Lawrence and Douglas County.
"I think the biggest help would be with theft, locker break-ins," he said. "Things like that. I think 99.9 percent of the people are here to go to school. But there is always some person who is here just to steal."