Chattanooga's top cop is calling on area businesses to help the department's Witness Support Fund.

It helps witnesses who are willing to testify, giving them money for hotel rooms, food, and travel.

Channel 3's last telethon for the Witness Support Fund raised a little over $3200. Police hope that'll encourage people to come forward with information without fearing for their lives.

The Witness Support Fund is giving more witnesses and victims of violence a chance to speak up safely.

Chattanooga police created the fund two years ago to help them cooperate with investigators and testify against those charged with violent crimes.

"When an individual has the courage and steps forward and agrees to testify or be a witness in a crime, we work with them. We have them identify for us what is causing fear, what do they think we can help with to support them," Chief David Roddy of the Chattanooga Police Department said.

In some cases, fear is a driving factor for why those impacted feel uncomfortable talking with police. Now there are resources to help ease those concerns.

Through telethons with Channel 3, more than $9,000 have gone into the fund thanks to members of our community. Chief Roddy has also been talking with others about the program, but wasn't ready to say who just yet.

"We've started conversations with some local businesses and organizations to maybe see if there's a corporate sponsorship or corporate support vein that might help us out," Chief Roddy said.

A partnership with those businesses and organizations could sustain the fund for years to come. Chief Roddy said that's important as more victims and witnesses offer to help.

"As the interest and success of the program builds, your needs build. The number of individuals that are willing to step forward and place themselves as a witness, that number grows so then the needs financially grow as well," Chief Roddy said.

You can either donate online or mail a check:

Make payable to: City of Chattanooga for: Witness Support Fund
100 E 11th St #300 | Chattanooga, TN 37402