A quick glance at a registration form from Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers might have people doing a double-take when they see it's for a Meth 101 Cooking Class.
Upon closer examination, Tri-Citians will see that they won't be signing up for a class to learn how to make the highly addictive drug, but they will be helping make the community safe.
Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers is having a fundraising "non-event," which means they're sending invites to a class that won't actually be offered with hopes that people will return the form with a donation to say "thanks but no thanks."
"We're not making light of the problems with meth, but we are trying to focus attention on the fact that yes, there is a problem," said Mike Blatman, the law enforcement coordinator for Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers. "It's a fundraising event. A lot of time people have events where people need to show up -- a dinner or special activity -- we thought, 'Let's do something different. We'll have a non-event.' "
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The "registration" form gives people a chance to check an appropriate reason why they won't be attending the cooking class, along with a donation amount. For example, a $25 donation indicates they're not attending because "I don't like handcuffs, they cramp my style," a $100 donation is "I'm all out of ingredients and my apron caught fire," while a $500 donation is "DEA cleanup costs too much."
There's also a place for people to write in their own donation amount and their own excuse for not attending.
The form also includes a link to Crime Stoppers where they can anonymously report suspicious or drug activity in their neighborhood.
Money donated for not attending the meth cooking class goes to support the Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers' reward and operation fund. Crime Stoppers pays a cash reward up to $1,000 for arrests of wanted fugitives.
Since 1985, Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers has paid more than $66,000 in rewards to anonymous tipsters who provided information that led to the arrests of almost 5,000 felons and cleared about 5,550 unsolved crimes, Blatman said.
The tips have led police to recover more than $1.3 million in stolen property and drugs.
Crime Stoppers is paid for by private donations and fundraising.
The idea behind the meth- cooking class was borrowed from the Crime Stoppers coordinator in South Bend, Ind., Blatman said.
"It's different," he said. "It's pretty doggone competitive for raising funds for organizations. You have to come up with something different every once in a while."
Donations can be made to Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers online at tricitiescrimestoppers.org/supportus.aspx or by check to P.O. Box 6708, Kennewick, WA 99336.
To donate goods or services or for information, call Blatman at 582-1351.