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History of Kern Secret Witness Program

The Kern Secret Witness Program was formed as a public benefit, nonprofit corporation in 1982. It is a collaborative effort between law enforcement and the community to involve the public in the criminal justice system by removing the fear of reprisal for assisting law enforcement. This is guaranteed by insuring that those who provide information will never be identified by the Secret Witness Program.
Rewards are available for those who provide information that leads to the arrest and conviction of suspected persons. This program is administered by the Secret Witness Board of Directors, and all funding for the program comes from public donations.

The Bakersfield Police Department and Kern County Sheriff's Department support the Secret Witness program and recognize it as a valuable tool to help solve crimes and apprehend wanted persons.

How The Program Works

The Kern Secret Witness Program relies on anonymous tips of community members. Secret Witness maintains a 24 hour hotline for the receipt of information provided by community members. The information may be in response to a law enforcement agency's request for assistance on unsolved crimes, or unsolicited information about a crime or wanted person.

If information provided proves to be worthwhile, the caller-who is given a code name and number at the time of their initial call is asked to re-contact the hotline to arrange for collection of the reward. The hotline documents all information received and faxes it to the appropriate law enforcement agency for follow-up. Information received that is successful in solving a crime, or locating a wanted person, is forwarded to the Secret Witness Board of Directors who will determine the significance of the information provided, and decide on the amount of reward to be disbursed.

The Secret Witness Board of Directors has sole discretion to authorize and set the value of a reward.