From the streets of Detroit to the highways of the Upper Peninsula, suspected criminal activity happens every day in Michigan. Citizens work with police and federal agents to keep their parts of the state safe, but a desire for higher security can lead too far if a person is accused or, worse, convicted of a crime.
A nationwide network that supports anonymous tipsters that has been operating for four decades just celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in Michigan. The Wolverine State's chapter began operations connecting tips with law enforcement and monetary rewards in 1993, helping to solve more than 7,500 crimes up to 2018.
The original infrastructure accepted tips on a hotline, where operators connected information to the proper law enforcement agency. Tipsters would receive a code to claim a promised payment as a reward if tips lead to an arrest, with a sliding scale of value based on the gravity of the crime. The network now accepts tips online as well.
Two serious concerns have led the network's management since its inception. The first is anonymity to ensure there are no reprisals against people who give tips to solve crimes. The second is verifying claims because one of the worst results from a tip is a false accusation.
People who are charged with crimes are entitled to legal representation by law. An attorney can review a case's facts and details for their value in a possible prosecution and criminal defense as well as work with prosecutors to reduce charges, review a filing or debate the facts of a case before a judge and a jury.