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SFPD: Public Plays Important Role In Solving Crimes

December 18, 2013, 5:03 PM by Hailey Higgins

SFPD: Public Plays Important Role In Solving Crimes

Mark Morris makes his first court appearance Wednesday after police say he left the scene of a crash that seriously hurt Reva Rezac near the Sanford Health Campus in Sioux Falls.

Police say they wouldn't have found Morris if it wasn't for a tip call.

Almost immediately after a man driving a Honda Civic was seen hitting Rezac near the Sioux Falls Sanford Health Campus, police sent out the call for help.

The next day, a "watchful citizen" is credited with finding the car believed to be involved in the crash.

A white Honda with front-end damage was spotted just a few blocks north of the Sioux Falls Police Department in a parking lot. With a quick registration search, police had a name and soon, their suspect.  Lieutenant Jerome Miller says the case could have easily gone unsolved without an alert tipster.

"The right person saw it," Miller said. "Some people call it luck, some people might call it due diligence.  There are all kinds of names you can hang on it, but I will take it any way it comes."

That kind of help isn't uncommon in Sioux Falls, especially when it comes to high-profile crimes such as robberies and attempted child abductions.

"We've all heard the stories about how (people say), 'I don't want to get involved. I didn't see anything.' They don't want to stop and talk. That doesn't happen here," Miller said.

Public Information Officer Sam Clemens says detectives receive helpful tips through CrimeStoppers and other sources, information they wouldn't have access to any other way.

"We have a limited number of officers that are out there and there is (sic) a lot more people in the public that are bound to see something," Clemens said.

And while many tips turn out to be unfounded, Clemens says it's worth digging through to find the one piece of information that will crack the case.

"It's really a great partnership that we have with the public and we really lean on them and need that information," Clemens said.

Tips can remain anonymous when they're given through CrimeStoppers. If you see any suspicious activity or know information about a crime, you can call, email or text the police department.

Call or text CrimeStoppers at 367-7000.

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