LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Several mid-Michigan schools are using the anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting to join together with Crime Stoppers, and are encouraging students to speak up if they see something wrong.
It’s called the “Fast 50” program. DeWitt Public Schools is the newest district to hop on board, alongside Lansing, Dansville, and Mason.
In a nutshell, if a student notices that one of their classmates is doing something illegal, they can tell their teacher and potentially get a quick 50 bucks.
“It allows them to be anonymous, and allows them to talk about things while in a safe environment with an administrator that are threats to the school, and or the student body,” said Ingham County Chief Deputy Sheriff Jason Ferguson.
It’s a program meant to help add more eyes and ears to the community.
“We say all the time the police are the community and the community are the police, and it’s just another helpful program to help us do our jobs well,” said Ferguson.
It works like this: if a student knows one of their classmates has drugs, alcohol, or a weapon, they can let school staff know, and if that tip pans out to be true, the tipster can walk away with 50 dollars, and school officials don’t have to release their name.
“We bring the 50 dollars to the school, and then they pay their anonymous tipster,” said Ferguson.
Ferguson says the program so far has been helpful in fighting crime.
“We’ve had some pretty minor successes with drugs and alcohol, and I don’t want to minimize those by calling them minor, but we have not had, you know, handguns or any weapons beyond a pocket knife, that I’m aware of,” said Ferguson.
He hopes to see it continue for years to come.
“You’re looking at the cooperation between law enforcement, schools, and local businesses to make the community safer,” said Ferguson.
Critics of this program say that students may not want to quote on quote “snitch” on their classmates, but Ferguson wants to assure the community that’s it’s done more positive work than negative.
For more information on the Fast 50 program, click here.