TALLADEGA, Ala. (WIAT) — After an increase in deadly crimes over the past few years, the city of Talladega is getting some new resources to help its police department.
In May, CBS 42 was contacted by families of homicide victims who were concerned about a rise in shootings and unsolved cases.
Interim Police Chief John McCoy said the department planned to join the Central Alabama Crime Stoppers and add gunshot detection technology. As of Wednesday, both plans have now come to fruition.
The gunshot detection technology being used by TPD is similar to the shot spotter system used in Birmingham. It can be moved to areas throughout the city.
“We do have that system up and it is online and it is working and we have increased our response times to several instances that we have had since that system has been online,” McCoy said.
McCoy said that in the past, the department would receive calls about a shooting, but it would take officers longer to locate the actual victim because reports could come from multiple parties. Police are now able to hear audio of an incident and determine the appropriate response.
“This we don’t have to worry about that anymore because it will tell us it was right here, so we go straight to where that incident was taking place, cuts down tremendously on our response time,” he said.
This week, Central Alabama Crime Stoppers announced it was adding Talladega County to its network of 22 others. The organization helps offer cash rewards for anonymous tips.
“Our job is to collect the information, make sure you remain anonymous and give it to law enforcement so they can do their job,” Crime Stoppers Executive Director Tony Garrett said.
Garrett said up to $1,000 is paid out within 30 days of a report that leads to an arrest. Citizens can share tips with the T3 Tips app.
“They can upload videos, photos and still remain anonymous and we still can talk to them in real time sometimes, about the information they just sent us,” Garrett said.
Garrett said oftentimes, money goes unclaimed and citizens feel empowered to bring change in their community.
Once schools resume for the fall, the organization also has plans to try and confiscate weapons from campuses in the 22 county coverage area.
“We are offering $500 for any gun that is found on school campus. If a student has a gun in their possession, we will pay out $500 for any other student that feels empowered to get that gun out of a school. Because we don’t want a national incident, we want that gun taken out of school before it harms someone,” he said.
Even though Central Alabama Crime Stoppers has only been involved in Talladega County for a few days, the organization is already offering $1,000 for an arrest in the disappearance of 19-year-old Stacy Lynch, who has been missing since last year.
“I miss his presence, I miss everything about him, just seeing him every day,” Stacy’s mother Erica Lynch said.
Stacy Lynch’s mother and grandmother, Mary, have been fighting to keep his story in the public eye since he disappeared before Christmas in 2020.
“Him not being here with his kids and his mother and his family and his grandmother. It really hit me Father’s Day,” Mary Lynch said.
Family members suspect foul play in Lynch’s disappearance. Police are also looking into that possibility after discovering a burned car in another county that is believed to be connected to the case.
Mary Lynch hopes the reward money and anonymous tip options will convince someone to break their silence.
“It’s going to help, I feel like it will help and it is a good thing because we needed it,” Lynch continued. “We can rest and we can put Stacy to rest.”
If you know anything about the disappearance of Stacy Lynch, you can call Central Alabama Crime Stoppers at 1-833-AL1-STOP or download the T3 Tips app. You can learn more here.