CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WRCB-TV) - The Crime Stoppers coffers swelled on Wednesday thanks to the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, Local 673.  From member dues, the group donated $500 to the reward fund.  From that account, tipsters who help solve crimes are paid.

"It's our mission to help the community," said Local 673 President, Det. Tim Tomisek.  "This is one more way we're trying to reach out to help."  Officers' jobs are made easier when they have good information to act on.  And all of our lives are made easier when criminals are off the streets.

Local 673 Vice President, Det. Larry Lockmiller added, "We encourage other businesses to step up and help."  In many cases, it is truly the bottom line of local merchants where the difference is made when suspects are caught and put behind bars.  Without the tips this program provides, many bad guys would still be out committing crimes.

"We appreciate every donation," said Off. Nathan Hartwig.  He is our Crime Stoppers coordinator with the Chattanooga Police Department.   And, as it turns out, he is a bit of a historian.  Off. Hartwig informed us that since the Chattanooga-area Crime Stoppers program got off the ground in March of 1984, tips phoned in to 698-3333 have helped solve more than 4,000 crimes.  In the process, more than $250,000 has been paid-out to tipsters.

"Crime Stoppers works," said Officer Hartwig.  "Without organizations like the IBPO and other local companies and businesses, the program wouldn't exist."

Our thanks to the IBPO Local 673.  If your business or community group would like to help out on a one-time or regular basis, call the hotline at 698-3333.