SANTA MARIA, Calif. - A $1 million reward has been put out for Christopher Dorner, the man who allegedly opened fire on Los Angeles and Riverside police.
Every once in a while there's money attached to providing information that leads to an arrest. Police say they advertise the reward, but they usually aren't the ones dishing out the money.
Sgt. Terry Flaa of the Santa Maria Police Department works as a criminal investigator and can attest to the importance of having people come forward with information that can lead to the arrest of a suspect on the loose. When money is offered for information, Flaa says the public response is huge.
"You are dealing with people who have something to gain for providing that information," says Flaa. "And usually money is an excellent incentive to provide the information sought."
But what determines when a reward is offered?
Flaa says the severity of a crime can be a factor, as well as the likelihood that the crime spree will continue and place lives in further danger. But the majority of the time, it has to do with forces outside of a law enforcement agency.
"Often times it's when a group or a group of individuals associated with the victim in the case want justice," says Flaa.
Flaa says most of the money offered as rewards don't come from police departments because they're dealing with taxpayer dollars. Donations usually come from outside organizations or people who want justice served.
"It's because they want closure in that case and they are willing to pay for more information," says Flaa.
The San Luis Obispo County Crime Stoppers program is a good example of this. On their website it says they rely on tax-deductible donations to keep the program going.
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