Trust Pays: Program offers students pay for campus crime tips

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It pays to help stop crime at local schools. Students can be paid between $50 to $250 when they commit to reporting a violation to a trusted source on campus. That trusted source, according to Trust Pays founder E. Winslow Chapman, can be “anybody from the principal to the yard man.”

Through the program, students are urged to reach out to school staff members when they need to report a violation.

“They can go to any adult in the schools they trust. They go to that trusted individual and they say, ‘Here’s what I know.’ That trusted individual never reveals who they are,” Chapman said.

Trust Pays targets dangerous violations that plague schools, like weapons, theft and drugs. Chapman said they’ve helped uncover more than 1,100 total drug cases on campuses since 2006, including 13 vaping devices reported this current school year.

“If you’re vaping the THC liquid you’re, in effect, smoking a joint. That’s the most prevalent thing we get, but we do get gang fights; we get possession of weapons, knives and drugs,” Chapman said.

Jacqueline Holmes and her 6th-grade son Mason Lewis said the program provides a sense of relief.

“I’m just glad that they have those kinds of policies,” said Lewis. “They’re doing everything they can to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

“I think that would be a very good idea because it’s so dangerous,” Holmes told us.

According to Trust Pays statistics the organization received six gun-related tips, two drug-related as well as the aforementioned vape device incidents during the 2022-2023 school year.

Memphis-Shelby County Schools released a statement to FOX13 about the observed benefits of the crime prevention program:

“Compared to the first semester of last school year, incidents of aggressive behavior at Memphis-Shelby County Schools are down 5.7%. That reduction is thanks to the outreach of our school resource officers and intervention and prevention programs such as Trust Pays.”

Chapman told us his program has also been linked to solving other serious crimes, including child predator cases, chop shop incidents and gang shootings, all through student-submitted tips.