Pubdate: Sat, 18 Nov 2006
Source: Suffolk News-Herald (VA)
Copyright: 2006 Suffolk News-Herald
Author: Tracy Agnew


The Crime Stoppers Are Making Themselves a Force to Be Reckoned With 
in Suffolk High Schools.

The Crime Stoppers, a "junior Crime Line" of sorts,  work in the 
schools in conjunction with the teachers,  administration and the 
school resource officers to  promote a safe learning environment. The 
Crime Stoppers  are regular students who are motivated to be leaders 
in  their schools and communities. Along with their  schoolwork and 
other activities, they also work with  school resource officers on 
cases that are reported to  them.

"Not a day goes by when we're not working on  something," said Tyron 
Riddick, the president of King's  Fork High School's Crime Stoppers. 
"We have an inside  source and nobody knows who is leaking out the 
information, so crime has deteriorated."

Crime Stoppers is a student club in place at three  Suffolk high 
schools n King's Fork, Lakeland and  Nansemond River. The students 
are the eyes and ears for  the police when the school resource 
officer can't be  there.

Suffolk Police Department Senior Officer Tyrell  Champagne, school 
resource officer at King's Fork High  School, said that the students 
in the schools are a  valuable resource.

Recently, a student helped in an arrest by making the  assistant 
principal aware of a possible drug deal  occurring in a classroom, 
Champagne said. It turned out  the student did have illegal drugs, 
and the student who  reported it was given a reward, the officer said.

The rewards come from the funds of the Crime Stoppers,  which raises 
money with various activities throughout  the year. The rewards, 
which cannot be cash due to  school policies, are usually in the form 
of a Wal-Mart  gift card, said Champagne. The Crime Stoppers vote 
on  how much the reward should be.

At times, students turn down rewards because they  believe it's the 
right thing to do to report the crime,  Champagne said. At Lakeland 
High School, two out of the  four rewards in the past year were declined.

The Crime Stoppers raise the money in the schools  through many 
creative programs. At King's Fork, the  Crime Stoppers held a student 
vs. staff basketball game  last year, and raised almost $400 at $1 
per ticket,  Champagne said. This year, they may try to do 
two  games, plus a car wash and other activities.

In addition to being the head of the Crime Stoppers at  the school, 
Champagne said he tries to educate all the  students as an attempt at 
preventing crime.

"Take disorderly conduct," Champagne said. "A lot of  kids don't know 
what disorderly conduct is until they  get arrested for it, and by 
then it's too late. We want  to teach them before it happens. If you 
know it's  against the law, you might make wiser decisions."

Vernon Towler, the president of the Crime Line board,  said that the 
student participation is impressive.

"I commend the students on taking command and taking a  leadership 
position," Towler said. "It's hard to  affiliate yourself with such 
an organization as this,  and I commend you for doing so."
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