65 tips and several arrests later, Clark Wideman of Marshalltown thinks Marshall County Crime Stoppers is the most rewarding community betterment effort he has been involved with ever.
And that is saying alot for the vice-president and general manager of Marshalltown Broadcasting, who has served on many betterment committees over a 54-year career in broadcasting, marketing and sales.
On Monday, Wideman retired as chairman of the board of MCCS.
Clark Wideman, center, chairman of the board of Marshall County Crime Stoppers, poses with Marshalltown Police Chief Mike Tupper, left, and Marshall County Chief Deputy Steve Hoffman after being awarded a certificate acknowledging his service to the organization. Tupper credited Wideman for starting the organization. T-R PHOTO BY MIKE SCHLESINGER
That retirement was brought on by another, as he will step down from Marshalltown Broadcasting April 1.
A move to Eau Claire, Wisc., will soon follow.
Wideman is credited with starting MCCS after hearing a presentation about local crime by Marshalltown Police Chief MIke Tupper in January 2015.
Wideman wanted to help, so he called Tupper. "My thinking was we could put together some public service announcements and do interviews with law enforcement," Wideman said. The two met. Tupper suggested implementing a Marshall County Crime Stoppers program as a proven method to combat crime. Tupper, having previously served as Nevada's police chief, knew about Story County's Crime Stoppers.
Crime Stoppers is a national organization offering cash rewards for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
It engages the public, making them partners with law enforcement in the war on crime. Tipsters can leave information anonymously via an online form, text message or telephone call.
Wideman seized the opportunity. However, he admitted being a "little nervous at first." That led to telephoning Mike Schlesinger, general manager and publisher of the Times-Republican, and Mark Osmundson, president of the local KDAO radio and television company. "I got their support, so we had the three major media in town supporting the effort," he said. "That was what we needed. It takes three elements for a successful Crime Stoppers program: An all-volunteer board of directors, law enforcement and media."
Over a period of seven months, Wideman and team lined up the necessary resources. This included recruiting more board members, drafting by-laws, establishing program guidelines, earning a 501(c)3 non-profit designation and securing cash donations for rewards.
It officially kicked off Sept. 1 last year.
Looking back, Wideman is thrilled with the program success six and one-half months later.
Wideman credited the public, the board of directors and law enforcement representatives Tupper, Capt. Chris Jones of the MPD, Marshall County Sheriff Ted Kamatchus and Chief Deputy Steve Hoffman for making Crime Stoppers successful.
"The public and media has supported us, and the board, with law enforcement, have been terrific to work with," Wideman said.
"I would like to publicly thank Clark for his efforts," said Tupper at Monday night's city council meeting. "Without Clark, Crime Stoppers would not exist locally. We have received 65 tips resulting in several arrests. By comparison, Story County received 26 tips in their first year."
Osmundson has succeeded Wideman as chair.
Other officers are Joel Greer, vice-chair; Schlesinger, treasurer; Tami Lichtenberg, secretary; and Larry Raymond, fund-raising. Board members are Bettie Bolar, Ellen Bergman, Carol Hibbs, Mike Miller and Carlos Portes.
Donations to MCCS are tax deductible, and can be made to MCCS, 112 W. Church St.
Courtesy of the Marshalltown Times-Republican, By MIKE DONAHEY, March 16, 2016