Palmview considers new Crime Stoppers program

PALMVIEW — The city will begin looking into creating a new Palmview Crime Stoppers program after the council continued to clash with the current iteration of the nonprofit organization.

However, the decision to do so, approved by a 3-2 vote, came after much debate among the council members during Tuesday’s meeting.

Council member Joel Garcia argued the city didn’t really have a crime stoppers as he said the current one operated in other parts of western Hidalgo County.

Garcia added that they had concerns about the organization’s transparency and whether they were adhering to term-limits.

“Because it’s the same board members since I don’t know when,” Garcia said during the meeting. “When we brought this to their attention, that’s when they decided to leave the city.”

The nonprofit was created in 2000 by members of the community with the help of the Palmview Police Department. Their main purpose is to raise funds to pay for crime tips but they don’t fund the police department in any way, according to Arnold Sepulveda, the Crime Stoppers coordinator for the police department.

In March 2018, representatives with the crime stoppers appeared at a city council meeting to address the strained relationship between the two entities.

The belief among both parties was that any resentment stemmed from the 2016 city council elections in which Arlando Nacianceno, a crime stoppers board member, lost to Javier Ramirez.

Nacianceno declined to comment.

Along with Ramirez and Garcia, Council member Linda Sarabia also came into office that year.

During that March 2018 meeting, however, the crime stoppers and the council disagreed on pushed the other away with the crime stoppers saying they felt that they were no longer welcome in the city.

Members of the city council disputed that but also said they were concerned about the group’s financial transparency, an issue that was raised again on Tuesday.

“There are certain guidelines that they have to follow since they are under the umbrella of our city,” Ramirez said. “They need to present their budget which they have not done up to this point and that was discussed the last time we were trying to fix this issue.”

Council members Jose Luis Perez and Anthony Uresti, who voted against the measure, both questioned whether the city could still work on re-establishing the relationship with the crime stoppers.

Uresti and Perez ran together and were elected to the council in November 2018, after the meeting in which the crime stoppers representatives addressed the council. Additionally, Perez had previously run for the council, unsuccessfully, with Nacianceno.

Sarabia, however, said past efforts to try to work with the crime stoppers went nowhere.

“They didn’t want to change that, be transparent, to make sure that you’re carrying the name of Palmview in a good way,” she said.”So that’s the reason why I think we should have a new organization.”

On Thursday, reiterated the belief that the city council should work on rebuilding the relationship with the crime stoppers.

“I wanted to kind of mend the situation with the current crime stoppers that we have,” Perez said, explaining why he voted against possibly creating a new crime stoppers.

Perez said he didn’t know the details of the disagreements between the two entities but thought they could work with what they had and possibly add more members to the crime stoppers board to establish a diversity of opinions.

“I wanted to establish a relationship with the one that’s already there,” Perez said again. “I believe they can help us out.”