Warren police program that pays $500 for drug dealer tips pays off

Money talks - and the people of Warren are apparently listening. 

A Warren Police program that offers money in exchange for tips about drug dealers is paying off after just a few months of work.

Last fall, the City of Warren launched PAID, People Against Illegal Drugs, a program that rewards neighbors $500 if they give authorities information about drug dealers.

Mayor Jim Fouts says Warren saw a spike of 400 percent in heroin overdose deaths from 2015 into 2016. It's a problem many communities in Michigan are facing. 

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The reward money is given out for information that leads to a search warrant, and arrest involving illegal drug sales from a Warren home. 

"The program is working. I'm very pleased with it," Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer says. "We have received over 151 tips."

One of those tips brought them to a neighborhood on Alberta Street, where police entered a home and found money, paraphernalia and, of course, narcotics.

Pills, money, and drugs are no longer on the street, but it seems to be more than money that motivates people to pick up the phone. 

"We've executed a number of warrants, where the people don't want any reward money. They just want to get rid of the dope dealer," Dwyer says.

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But where does that money come from? The dealers. The commissioner says the money comes from them, one way or another.

"It's not coming out of the general fund or the police budget. It's coming out of the money we take from narcotic dealers," Dwyer explains. 

If you'd like to give police a tip, call 589-574-GUTS (4887). Your tip will be confidential. 

Alternatively, Warren also takes part in Hope Not Handcuffs, which means any person with a drug addiction can come to any police agency and ask for help. They'll be linked up with a Families Against Narcotics volunteer and placed into a treatment program as soon as possible.