Public informants eligible to receive $10,000 reward in ‘some’ cases
■ By Kyle Selby / Reporter
The Hemet City Council approved the crime information reward program at the request of Hemet Police Department’s (HPD) Chief Dave Brown on March 28. At the Aug. 8 City Council meeting, Investigations Lt. Eddie Pust provided an update on the program, and how the public can help solve additional crimes.
“It’s basically to incentivize people to come forward, because we rely on that information for many cases. There are different motives for people that want to provide information,” explained Pust. “Some people like to do it because it’s right and just; others like to work things off, and those are certain individuals that would work in collaboration with the DA’s office – we also have people that would like to get a reward.”
The city of Hemet offers rewards of up to $10,000 for information leading to the identity, arrest, and conviction of persons responsible for committing serious crimes, including those which result in serious injury or death. Teamed with San Jacinto Valley Crime Stoppers Plus, Hemet provides an anonymous tip line that allows submissions online or over the phone directly to the Hemet Detective Bureau.
Tip providers are encouraged to supply vehicle descriptions, addresses, names/identities, or any information pertinent to identifying suspects of open assault and homicide cases in Hemet. Anonymous tips can be submitted by visiting the Police Department’s website, www.hemetpolice.org, and selecting the image of handcuffs on the homepage.
“We have to be flexible on this, depending on the information that we receive,” Pust clarified in regard to the $10,000 maximum reward. “I can’t promise that on certain cases, because we’re talking about serious crimes. It depends on [the informant’s] involvement in each crime, and what [information] they have to provide. We work with them, work with the DA’s office, and we keep that person confidential.”
Pust officially launched the tips program June 15 of this year. While HPD receives tips on a weekly basis, Pust revealed that they have yet to receive any tips in exchange for a monetary reward. He believes that that is because the program is fairly new, while some people simply fear retaliation for being involved in certain cases, which deters them from coming forward.
“It is important that the assigned detectives are aware that you are providing information due to the interest in these reward programs,” clarified Pust. “Reward amounts will be determined after viewing all documentation detailing a claimant’s cooperation and involvement to justify payment.”
The murder of Daniel Ramirez, a highly publicized homicide investigation in Hemet, was seemingly put to rest in April when an alleged witness came forward with the identities of two brothers, Manuel and Moses Olaez, as the alleged assailants. The Olaez brothers remain in custody and the case has not yet gone to court.
HPD is requesting the public’s help in identifying the person or persons responsible for these types of violent crimes and encourages anybody with information to contact the Hemet Police Department at 951-765-2400 or the listed detective investigating the specific case. See related story – “Hemet homicide victims need your help.”