Uncooperative Witnesses Hinder MPD

Wednesday through Friday, Meridian police responded to 10 different calls for shots fired. But at every location, once they arrived, the caller did not want to speak to police. It's a constant catch 22 for officers who need to investigate the calls, but end up on a wild goose chase.

"Every one of these calls has to be checked out, so that's tying up manpower," Lt. John Griffith says. "But there again, it's kind of one of those things that we have to answer or need to answer. And people need to call in to us."

Chief James Lee says it's nearly impossible to solve cases without the help of those who know information.

"You just hinder us from solving your cases when you don't cooperate," he says. "It's important for people to know in order for us to help you, we have to have your help. You have to tell us what you see. You have to let us know what happened. If you don't volunteer the information, there's no way we can pull the information out of you."

So what is it that makes witnesses want to keep their lips sealed? Lt. Griffith says it could be any number of things.

"Either the shots wake them up or they don't really see anything, they just hear. So they don't necessarily want the officer to come by their house. Sometimes they're in fear that if the officer comes to their house, the people in the neighborhood are going to know that they call the officers."

Often criminals will make those calls hoping to lure the police away from areas they're targeting for their own crimes. Whatever the case, investigators are asking that if you call them in, be ready to help. Sometimes even the smallest information makes a big difference.

"If there's a shooting, we need to know what kind of car, when, which direction he traveled in, if you can identify anyone in the car," Chief Lee. "Things that can help us identify these people and charge them appropriately."