- Associated Press - Friday, November 6, 2015

MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) - Fewer people are reporting game violations to South Dakota’s Turn In Poachers hotline than average, but a higher percentage of calls are resulting in arrests.

The Game, Fish and Parks Department says 213 investigations resulted from the hotline during the 2014 fiscal year, which ran from July 2013 through June 2014. That compares with the 10-year average of 391.

The agency’s law enforcement program administrator Andy Alban told The Daily Republic (https://bit.ly/1Mg4wjD ) that he doesn’t know why tips have dropped off, but he says the calls that are coming in “are great information.”

Last year’s tips led to 126 arrests, for a success rate of 59 percent; the 10-year average is 33 percent. Judges issued $18,558 in fines as a result of last year’s investigations.

The number of investigations last year was up from 170 in 2013, a 20-year low mark.

The hotline, around since 1984, is funded through donations and court-ordered restitution. Through 2014, there have been 10,845 investigations leading to 3,761 arrests and $719,925 in fines. About $566,000 has been paid in liquidated civil damages, which are fines beyond the criminal penalty.

The TIPs program also has given out $156,940 since its beginning to people who report lawbreakers.

“The program gets great support,” Alban said. “A lot of times, citizens are not interested in a reward. They’re just interested in others gaining compliance with the laws and getting justice.”

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Information from: The Daily Republic, https://www.mitchellrepublic.com


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