Saturday, March 16, 2013

Call Backs Not Normal For Arson Tipline

Police received 200 tips in one month
Written by
Anne McNamara
ACCOMACK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) - Calls are pouring in to the arson tip line, as State Police continue to search for the suspects who have set 68 fires on the Eastern Shore.
But some viewers told 10 On Your Side police never returned their calls, and they wonder if their tips were investigated, at all.
"How am I supposed to get this information in the right hands?" one viewer wrote.
"Very annoying," said another.

State Police have received 200 tips since February. They got 75 tips last weekend from checkpoints on Route 13 in Accomack County. And because of that volume, police say not every call can be answered.

"It's a pretty overwhelming amount of information coming in all at one time, which is great. It's exactly what we need and what we want to keep getting," said Corinne Geller, a state police spokesperson.
Geller says no tip is ignored. But, police do not return calls, unless it's necessary.

"A lot of people have the expectation they will be called back immediately," said Geller. "But there are various elements when a tip comes in."

Geller said every tip is analyzed, categorized and prioritized after it is entered into the database. But, not everyone will get a call back for the following reasons:

1.) Caller provided enough information to investigate
2.) Police already investigated a similar tip
3.) Information may be more relevant at a later date

State Police hope to get even more calls, to help in a search that, at times, feels like looking for "a needle in a haystack." The county stretches 450 square miles, but the communities are small, and State Police know someone has the information they need.

"Even if you think it's insignificant, and it may be to you, but it may be the missing piece of the puzzle we need," said Geller.

Anyone with information should call, email or text state police at (757) 655-1437. There is a $25,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest and conviction.


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