Crime Stoppers is a non-governmental entity, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt non-profit charity. As such, the organization is not subject to any Open Meetings or Public Information laws, generally.However, most states do require that all corporations, including non-profits, periodically report to the state agency (such as Secretary of State) the names and addresses of the corporation's directors and officers. The information filed is not necessarily the current board, as there is typically no duty to report interim changes to the board.Therefore, the police department was correct in not releasing any information about the Crime Stoppers board of directors.That having been said, it is normally up to each volunteer who serves on a Crime Stoppers board of directors as to whether that person wishes for his or her name to be disclosed otherwise to the public.
Carter's response suggests that local organizations are effectively accountable to no one. As 501 (c) (3), they are exempt from Open Meeting laws, even when--as in Durham--they are managed by a government employee. When they issue--as in this case--potentially libelous statements, they can refuse to respond to public inquiries as to the justification for their action. Because of their nominally autonomous status, they allow police departments to resist--as seen in the responses to attorney Alex Charns--inquiries about the origins and justifications for their actions. And then, when the public attempts to hold them accountable for their actions, they can go so far as to shield the membership of their board of directors.
While I have no doubt that many, and probably most, CrimeStoppers organizations do excellent work, it seems that the one and only check on a rogue CrimeStoppers organization is through civil lawsuits by affected parties. As we have seen in Durham, a structure essentially accountable to no one is a structure ripe for abuse.