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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Oregon County property protection group gears back up

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A long forgotten organization, The Oregon County Livestock and Property Owner's Association, wants to make a come back. The association is seeking new faces, as it tries to reorganize in Oregon County. Its first annual meeting in 15 years, will be held on Feb. 11 at 7:00 p.m. in the Courthouse Conference room.

The association was established years ago to offer rewards to people with information concerning crimes on personally owned property.

Former Vice-President, Charles Alford said, "For example, if your own lawn mower got stolen off your property, you could call the association and get a meeting together to offer a $500 reward for information about your stolen lawn mower."

The association started out for cattle farmers, but gradually expanded to land and home owner's as well.

Alford said getting the association reorganized is something he has been thinking about for a couple of years. "I've talked to several of the younger farmers in the area and past members to see about getting the association active again," Alford said.

Because many of the members from year's past have moved or are now deceased, Alford has decided a total reorganization is needed.

"It has been 15, 16 years since we've had an actual annual meeting," Alford said. "The last meeting we had was regarding a church and cabins that were burnt along Eleven Point River. We put up a reward at the time."

Back then, as today, there are just a few law enforcement officers to cover a big county. Property owners working together can be a valuable resource. If a member has experienced a theft loss, they would display a sign reading, "Oregon County Livestock and Homeowner's Association. $500 for information leading to arrest."

In other words, the association and the rewards it offers could assist the Oregon County Sheriff's Department. Theft cases are often difficult to solve, and some go without ever finding the responsible party. Having an organization available to offer reward money, could help investigators as they try to crack a case. Under

the association's rules, there must be a conviction following information being given to the association or authorities before a reward can be issued.

Alford said that there are still funds available in a checking account. The bank account has to have a certain amount of activity to stay open and that has been a concern. Even though the association has plenty of money for the time being, Alford said, "We may have an annual membership drive, fundraisers or small annual dues of $5."

"There are younger guys around now, and it's something they probably haven't even heard of. Cattle, land, house owners are all welcome. I wouldn't even see a problem with someone joining who just owns their vehicle, as long as it is some form of property," Alford said.

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