From its inauguration Sept. 1, 2015, to the first tip logged two days later, to the first arrest, the Marshall County Crime Stoppers program is a proven crime-fighter.
The results, according to county law enforcement officials, are measured in the number of tips made and later, arrests and convictions.
"Crime Stoppers has exceeded my expectations, that is for sure," said Marshalltown Police Chief Mike Tupper. "It has been a successful the first year. It has been helpful, and has made our community safer. We have received more than 100 tips."
Crime Stoppers is a national organization offering cash rewards for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
The crime fighting initiative creates a cash incentive for tipsters to report information - and they can do it anonymously via an online form, text message or telephone call.
Tipsters can submit data pertaining to a potential suspect's name, address, race, gender, height, weight, age, hair color, scars and marks, tattoos, clothing or animal ownership.
That information is sent to a third-party server before being rerouted to law enforcement, said MPD Capt. Chris Jones.
"I have access and another police captain in our office has access and a series of other investigators that receive tips" he said.
Jones said he forwards promising tips to personnel assigned to the cases to which the tips pertain. Importantly, the cash incentives come completely from private donations.
Crime Stoppers tips can be submitted by telephone, text message or an Internet website.
The Crime Stoppers phone line is answered at all hours, seven days a week, at 641-753-1234. Calls are answered by Marshall County Communications Center operators.
Text messages can be sent to 247637 (CRIMES).
Tips can be submitted online at www.marshallcountycs.com
Marshall County, and city law enforcement were quick to credit former local resident and now retired businessman Clark Wideman for starting Crime Stoppers.
Before stepping down as volunteer Crime Stoppers chairperson in March, Wideman served as vice-president and general manager of Marshalltown Broadcasting. He retired from that company April 1. He had an impressive 54-year career, ranging from broadcasting to marketing to sales.
Wideman went to work tackling local crime head on after hearing a presentation about local crime by Tupper in January 2015.
Wideman wanted to help, so he called Tupper.
Tupper suggested starting a Crime Stoppers program as a proven method to combat crime. That led to Wideman 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.
Wideman, who has since moved to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, said Marshall County Crime Stoppers was the most rewarding community betterment effort he was ever involved with.
He credited the public, the board of directors. and law enforcement representatives for making Crime Stoppers successful.
"The public and media supported us, and the board, with law enforcement, have been terrific to work with," Wideman said.
Other officers are Osmundson, chair; Joel Greer, vice chair; Schlesinger, treasurer; Tami Lichtenberg, secretary; and Larry Raymond, fund-raising. Board members are Holly Reimenschneider, Bettie Bolar, Ellen Bergman, Carol Hibbs, Mike Miller, Todd Steinkamp and Carlos Portes.
Donations to MCCS are tax deductible, and can be made to MCCS, 112 W. Church St., Marshalltown, 50158.
Courtesy of Mike Donahey, Marshalltown Times-Republican. September 3, 2016