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State: $500 reward for turning in illegal gun owners

ALBANY – A program aimed at rewarding people who blow the whistle on illegal gun owners has yet to show significant results, says three police agencies in the New York.

In February of 2012, 11 months before the passage of the NY SAFE Act, Governor Cuomo’s office announced a four pronged initiative to curb gun violence. One of the programs was a cash reward for citizens who lead police to the arrest and confiscation of illegal fire arms.

Known as the “Gun Tip Line”, New Yorkers can call a toll free hotline to alert police if they believe someone they know has an illegal gun. The call would be picked up by state police and local law enforcement would be notified if the tip seemed reliable.

If there was an arrest the tipster would receive as much as $500.

“This initiative seeks to turn neighbor against neighbor and use their own tax dollars to pay for the $500 reward,” said Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, R-Melrose.

Three police agencies CBS6 reached out to for comment said they have yet to get a tip from state police, let alone make an arrest. Two of the agencies said they were unaware of the program until they received a letter from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services earlier this week.

John Tedesco, City of Troy Police Chief, says he was aware of the state’s program, but questioned whether or not the public was aware.

“The average citizen doesn't equate with the Governor's office,” said Chief Tedesco. “It is their local PD, that is who they are going to call first.”

The process of police investigating and ultimately showing up at someone’s home, upon a tip, could be lengthy, said Tedesco.

“You simply can't appear at someone’s doorstep, bust a door down, go in take a weapon and try to go to a judge later (and say) ‘well your honor we thought this was going to happen’”, said Tedesco. “They (judges) want to see the proof.”

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