By Lemor Abrams

FAIRFIELD (CBS13) — Nimi Amatoru recalls a gun battle, a block away from her high school. Then, one of the suspected shooters took cover inside the school gym.

“All of a sudden it’s like, lockdown everyone gets inside I got crammed into a room of all these kids and we’re in there for hours,” she said.

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Amatoru has seen the same shooting chaos unfold at schools across the country. But at Armijo High School, officials are now working with the Fairfield Police Department, to cut down on crime with cash.

The department is offering $500 to anyone with information about someone carrying a gun on or near campus.

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“To empower the people around those people who might have weapons… to say something when they see something,” said Fairfield Unified Spokesman Tim Goree.

Chuck Timm is Fairfield’s Vice Mayor, but he spent the last three decades of his life as an officer for Fairfield Police and was there when the department came up with the idea.

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“I used to have a hundred dollar bill we had a lockbox in the sergeant’s office and if somebody was to give you information about a firearm at the time, I’d go to the office get the $100 bucks out of the envelope and I’d go take it to him,” Timm said.

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Police say they increased the reward to $500 due to inflation, and to get more people talking.

“People call it snitching or ratting out, I don’t care what you call it because bullets aren’t picky,” Timm said.

Police say the program takes at least two guns off the street each year. Officials also say violent crime has dropped in recent years. They weren’t able to provide numbers to back that up, but students say, either way, too many guns are in the wrong hands.

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“I hear about kids saying yeah I got a gun. I’m packing and all that stuff all the time. It’s like — what’s the point?” Amatoru.