Oklahoma Victim Notification System Wins Grant

Wednesday, October 26th 2011, 8:53 pm
By: News 9

Jamie Oberg, News 9

(OKLAHOMA CITY) -- The Oklahoma Attorney General's office received a $1 million grant to help keep track of criminals already behind bars. Victims say the program is worth every cent.

It's called OK VINE; thousands of phone calls, texts and e-mails are sent out to registered users.

If the bad guy or gal makes a move outside or inside prison or jail walls in Oklahoma, the victims know right away.

When Sharon Cotton gets a phone call or text, so many emotions can overwhelm her.

"It is scary because I'm thinking, uh-oh what happened? That's the first thing when you answer it, and it's that."

Six days ago that call was from OK-VINE calling about, Clinton McKimble, an inmate moving to another prison.

"The man that's in prison helped murder my brother in 1988," Cotton said.

Cotton is always thinking about her brother and his children and she appreciates those phone calls even though they can be tough.

"At least you know he hasn't escaped," she said.

Cotton said the criminal tracking and victim notification system reassures her one of the men responsible can't hurt her family.

"There's a fear that if he gets out he might try and hunt you down for some reason."

Thousands of Oklahomans have registered with OK-Vine, but former prosecutor Lesley March says the additional grant money will go to help make the system even faster, and help those who don't know about the system feel safer.

"We know this program saves lives. I utilize this system for my personal safety. I know other prosecutors have as well. There's a large group that can benefit from the system and we're very proud of this," March said.

Cotton said that keeping up with what's going on in her brother's case with the VINE notifications is important because his killer could "have the opportunity to get out because you wouldn't have the opportunity to protest."

The grant money will also help pay for advertisements and an Oklahoma VINE coordinator to oversee system.

OKLAHOMA Victim Information and Notification Everyday Service