Dave Bakker, left, Chatham-Kent Police Cst. and long-time Program Coordinator, Vice-President Aaron Hurst, director Vicki Gough, of Ridgetown, and Program Coordinator Erica McIntosh promote a recruitment drive for new board members for Chatham-Kent Crime Stoppers.Photo submitted to The Ridgetown Independent News

Chatham-Kent Crime Stoppers has launched a recruitment campaign to find new volunteers to join its Board of Directors.

The Board currently consists of President Angie Shreve, Vice-President Aaron Hurst, Program Coordinator Erica McIntosh and five other directors, who oversee the business functions of the Chatham-Kent Crime Stoppers, a non-profit registered organization.

The Board meets on the third Thursday of the month from September to June at the Chatham-Kent Police headquarters.

“It’s not a Board where you have to tie up a lot of hours in a week,” McIntosh said. “It’s only a few hours a month.”

Directors sit on various committees as they are involved in fundraising and decide reward amounts for successful tips from the public that lead to an arrest or a criminal case being solved.

Fundraising is vital for the directors as Chatham-Kent Crime Stoppers does not receive government funding, relying solely on individual and corporate donations to raise money to pay tipsters. 

The Board is looking to add at least five new volunteer members who will hopefully be in place by Crime Stoppers Awareness Month in January.

“We are finding ourselves at a point where more board members would be very welcome,” Shreve said. “Through changes in jobs and family moves, we have had to say goodbye to more board members than we’ve been able to recruit in the past year.”

The Board is looking for individuals who are passionate about the mission, vision and values of Crime Stoppers and have experience in organizational development, fundraising, donor relations and social media skills.

Successful candidates must pass a Police Criminal Records Check at their own expense, fit into a positive working relationship with other Board members, dedicate time to their assigned committee and be able to represent Crime Stoppers at community events and fundraisers.

“I joined Chatham-Kent Crime Stoppers six years ago and find this is a very rewarding way to give volunteer hours to our community,” Shreve said. “I believe the partnership of residents, police and media is second to none to provide an anonymous venue to fight crime.”

“Tipsters don’t always expect to receive a cash reward because some feel speaking up is the right thing to do,” he said.

Vicki Gough, a local veteran journalist from Ridgetown, has been on the Board for 23 years.

“I can say it has been very rewarding,” Gough said. “You get to meet the public at different events, and you can offer great value to the program.”

“I have never looked back since joining the board,” she said.

Hurst has been a Board member since he was 16 years old as he is already in his 14th year with Crime Stoppers.

“As the Vice President, being a board member holds a great personal significance for me for several reasons,” stated Hurst. “Volunteering with Crime Stoppers provides me with an avenue to contribute to a cause I truly care about, helping to positively impact individuals, communities and the residents of Chatham-Kent.”

“It allows me to actively contribute to making my community a safer place as I’ve seen first-hand how this community collaboration has helped Crime Stoppers reduce crime,” he said.

For more information on the Board and for a volunteer application form, visit www.crime-stoppers.on.ca

Crime Stoppers, which began in Albuquerque, N.M., in 1976, is a community-based partnership program where local police, citizens and media help fight crime by rewarding cash rewards to members of the public whose anonymous tips lead to the arrest or charges against criminal offenders.

Crime Stoppers guarantees the anonymity of tipsters, as their names are never used. People who provide tips are given a case number, and if a reward is granted, arrangements are made for a drop-off site with a board member, as the police are not involved in the process.

Chatham-Kent Crime Stoppers was launched in April 1987, and its first coordinator was Cst. Dennis Poole of the Chatham Police Service, who eventually became Chief of the Chatham-Kent Police. Poole started with a phone and a desk in a spare closet at police headquarters for a makeshift office. He recruited members of the public and established a relationship with local media, which included newspapers and radio stations running Crime Stoppers’ Crime of the Week articles seeking public assistance on particular unsolved crimes.

Tips from the public are welcome on any crime in Chatham-Kent. From its beginning in 1987 to the end of 2022, a total of 29,459 anonymous tips from the public were submitted to Chatham-Kent Crime Stoppers, leading to 7,656 arrests, 16,424 charges and clearing 11,230 cases.

A total of $103,896,346 drugs have been seized, along with $10,507,651 property being recovered for a total of $114,549,902.

In 2022, a total of 479 anonymous tips to Crime Stoppers led to 15 arrests, 41 charges and 109 cases cleared.

A total of $102,780 worth of drugs were seized, and $2,000 in property was recovered for a total of $104,782 in drugs and property seized.

Citizens can submit tips to help solve a crime by calling 1-800-222-TIPS or by email to ckcrime@chatham-kent.ca

You can also go to www.crime-stoppers.on.ca to get a report form or to Chatham-Kent Crime Stoppers’ Facebook page.

Visit the Crime Stoppers website, www.crime-stoppers.on.ca, to learn more about the program.

By Michael Bennett, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Oct 16, 2023 at 13:44

This item reprinted with permission from   The Independent News   Ridgetown, Ontario
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