Crime Stoppers takes three of five state awards
Three out of five awards from the N.C. Crime Stoppers Association have been brought home by the Henderson-Vance Crime Stoppers Association.
Henderson-Vance was recognized for having the top coordinator, the most innovative fundraiser and the best board program.
“It certainly is a joint effort, every board member, and then the community responds so well to us,” said Rev. Frank Sossamon, the chairman of the group. “That helps us win these awards.”
Lt. Irvin Robinson of the Henderson Police Department was named Coordinator of the Year. The association’s annual golf tournament was named the Most Innovative Fund Raising. And Church Watch was recognized as the Board Program of the Year.
“I was very surprised,” Robinson said. “I didn’t think we would get three awards out of the five of the state.”
Crime Stoppers is approaching 30 years in the community. Sossamon said he moved here in 1985 and became involved with Crime Stoppers as it was formulating and he was serving as chaplain of the Vance County Sheriff’s Office.
He’s led the organization since 2006.
Robinson has 34 years with the Henderson police and is grooming Craig Thorpe, a senior officer, as his backup. He’s worked as the liaison since Jan. 1, 2000, succeeding Lt. Sam Pearson.
Ironically, Sossamon succeeded Pearson when he became chairman. Pearson died in 2006.
Robinson won the coordinator award in 2005 and the Southeastern coordinator award in 2009.
“Working with law enforcement, and civilians, it’s the name of the game, just working together and getting everything back to where it needs to be and get some of this crime off the street,” Robinson said. “We’ve had a lot of success with it, us and the sheriff’s department. We’ve had several payouts and several convictions and cases cleared through Crime Stoppers. Right now we have eight cases and we’ve paid out over $2,800 worth of money already this year.”
Henderson-Vance more than doubled the money raised with dinner sponsorships by going to a golf tournament two years ago. The event included 20 teams playing, but the big financial boost came from 59 businesses buying hole sponsorships.
The event netted $10,000, with all three winning teams donating their winnings back to Crime Stoppers.
The Church Watch program brings church leaders together in an effort to teach prevention. The two programs included presentations on embezzlement in March, and on fraud and scams in August.
“We’ve taken a different direction than most Crime Stoppers because we’re very pro-active,” Sossamon said. “The Church Watch is a program we won the award on. It’s one of our efforts in reaching out to a segment of the community, providing training, that it’s all about a partnership.”
Henderson-Vance has three distinct programs: Church Watch, Business Watch and Community Watch. But there could be future additions.
“We’ve looked at maybe schools, developing some kind of campus Crime Stoppers,” Sossamon said. “There are some that exist in some communities. If you can get the students to become more active in being eyes and ears, and having some avenue that they can report suspicious activity; a lot of them are not sure they can trust a friend, or somebody else to share the information with, but they could through Crime Stoppers. The anonymity would benefit them greatly and it would help us be able to address some of the problems in the school system and the local schools that exist, because schools are just a mirror of the community.”
Sossamon said discussions have been made with the City of Henderson about signage as well.
“We’re hoping all of those efforts, and we have some other ideas in mind,” Sossamon said, “will help broaden our reach and hopefully make our organization even more effective for the community at large.”
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