Thursday, September 30, 2010

McHenry County Crime Stoppers - where are you?

I have been trying to contact Crime Stoppers of McHenry County. You'd think it wouldn't be all that hard.

A call to the tip line got me the name and telephone number of Deputy Aimee' Knop, who is apparently the liaison between the McHenry County Sheriff's Department (since she is employed there) and this particular organization. Aimee' would not provide information about the board members or any contact information other than a mailing address of P.O. Box 295 in Woodstock.

More than two weeks ago I wrote to the P.O. Box, asking who the board members are. I guess they don't know, because no one has answered. I emailed Undersheriff Andy Zinke on September 16 to ask who is in charge of the McHenry County Coalition of Crime Stoppers. He must not know, because he hasn't acknowledged my email or replied with the information. Maybe he wrote to the P.O. Box, too.

I am also trying to get information about the Woodstock Crime Stoppers organization. The Woodstock P.D. told me that (former chief) Joe Marvin is the President of it. A member of its board gave me Joe's phone number, but it has been disconnected. Joe is now the head of the Marine Unit of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department, so I called and left a message there for him.

I'm sure he must be busy with boat license checks, lake water levels and fuel leaks, and counting life jackets, because he hasn't called back.

I have the 2010 Report of the Crime Stoppers of McHenry County. It's a puff piece with lots of holes where information ought to be.

How many tips did the hot line (800/762-STOP) handle in 2009?
- "118 (actually have 128 tip numbers but 10 completely skipped accidently (sic))"
- 12 tips paid out
- $3,400 paid out in tips

$3,400 paid out on 12 tips? That's less than $300/tip average.

And this is exactly what prompted my attention. The Beth Bentley Reward poster says that there is a $2,000 reward from Crime Stoppers for information that leads to locating her.

Crime Stoppers usually pays for information leading to indictment or arrest, so I wondered whether Crime Stoppers would pay for "information" to find a person who would not be indicted or arrested. The Woodstock Police Department told me that the reward is "up to" $1,000 from its Crime Stoppers group.

So it's not $1,000; it's "up to $1,000". I want to ask who decides and on what criteria.

In the absence of a reply from Undersheriff Zinke about who supervises the operators on the tollfree tip line, I continue to wonder if they are Sheriff's Dept. dispatchers or if those calls really go elsewhere.

You know? It shouldn't be so hard to gather information of this type! The stone-walling only leads to deeper digger, more questions, more uncovered problems.

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