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By Chris Frost
Tri County Sentry
Oxnard-- The Community Services, Public Safety, and Housing Committee, Tuesday, September 14, approved raising the reward for unsolved homicide cases from $10,000 to $25,000.
The Oxnard Police Department previously offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the identification, apprehension, and conviction of homicide case suspects. As of September 14, the police department has not paid any reward money for information on unsolved homicides.
Commander Sharon Giles presented the item to the committee and said as of July 1, the department increased the reward money to $25,000.
"The purpose of this was to motivate witnesses from our community to come forward in order to bring justice for the victims of violent crime," she said. "What allows us to do this is California Government Code section 53069.5, and this allows the police department to offer and pay rewards for information leading to the identification and apprehension of any person whose willful misconduct results in the injury or death to any person."
She said the section of the code does not require a conviction before distributing the reward, but since the reward is discretionary, the police department added the additional requirement of a conviction before the $25,000 award is distributed.
Giles said if the police department needs the funding this fiscal year, it can be absorbed by the Oxnard Police Department's general fund budget. Moving forward into the fiscal year 2022-2023 and beyond, the police department will include $25,000 for the annual rewards program in its annual budget request.
"To be eligible for the $25,000, an individual must provide investigators with information that leads to the identification, apprehension, and conviction of a suspect in a homicide case," she said. "The money will be paid upon the conviction of the suspect. This process will be handled by the Investigative Services Bureau Commander."
Giles said all unsolved cases in the City of Oxnard can be viewed through the Oxnard Police Department Cold Case Website, www.sites.google.com/oxnardpd.org/opdcoldcase/home.
"On this website, we supply a master list of all unsolved cases dating back to the 1960s," she said. "It also provides information on some featured unsolved homicides cases, and it goes a little more in-depth as to what the case is about who the victim is. It also provides information on solved homicide cases, so the cold cases we've solved over the years."
The item passed unanimously.