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News 12 Westchester Crime Stoppers Inaugural Breakfast

Westchester County Crime Stoppers Back in Business

NEWS RELEASE
George N. Longworth, Commissioner, Department of Public Safety
Ned McCormack, Communications Director
Contact: Kieran O’Leary (914) 864-7858

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 25, 2011

WESTCHESTER COUNTY CRIME STOPPERS BACK IN BUSINESS
Astorino urges support for the cash rewards program

County Executive Robert P. Astorino this week welcomed Crime Stoppers back to Westchester and urged the public to support the program’s partnership with law enforcement to identify and apprehend criminals.

Westchester County Crime Stoppers, which had been dormant in recent years, held an Inaugural Breakfast Thursday at The Wartburg Adult Care Community in Mount Vernon to highlight that it was back in business.

“Crime Stoppers, which is run by civilian volunteers, is a terrific partnership between the public and law enforcement,” Astorino said in a keynote address at the event. “It is a valuable tool for police to utilize in challenging investigations and difficult-to-solve crimes.”
Astorino said Crime Stoppers needs financial support from the public to be able to offer rewards of up to $1,000 for information in selected criminal cases.

Crime Stoppers is being revived under the leadership of its Chairperson, Derickson K. Lawrence of Mount Vernon, an executive in the banking and financial services industry. WCCS is rebuilding support for its mission to assist law enforcement in Westchester and adjoining communities to mitigate and solve crimes.

As a volunteer civilian organization, WCCS is funded by tax-deductible donations from businesses, clubs, associations and individuals. A fund-raising campaign is currently under way.

“The critical success factors for this organization and its programs are predicated on the cooperative efforts of concerned citizens, the media, and law enforcement agencies,” Lawrence said. “As such, the goal is to fight crime by overcoming the two key elements that inhibit involvement: fear and apathy.”

WCCS provides an anonymous toll-free tip line (800-898-8477) to encourage citizens to volunteer vital information that helps law enforcement solve crimes. Tips that lead to an arrest and conviction, in cases designated and advertised by WCCS, will lead to a reward.

Commissioner George N. Longworth of the Department of Public Safety told the gathering how a Crime Stoppers reward helped him develop key evidence needed to arrest the murderer of an 11-year-old boy. That investigation was conducted in the 1990s when Longworth was chief of the Dobbs Ferry Police Department.

“Crime Stoppers’ rewards give law enforcement one more tool it can use to identify persons responsible for major crimes and bring them to justice,” he said.

The Westchester County Chiefs of Police Association and the New York Law Enforcement Foundation are founding sponsors of WCCS. The Westchester Bank has signed on as a lead corporate sponsor for the organization.

Additional information about WCCS, the Crime Stoppers concept and ways to make a donation can be found at WWW.WestchesterCrimeStoppers.org
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March 24, Inaugural Breakfast Participants/ Board of Directors

$1,000 Reward Offered

Derickson Lawrence, left, chairman of Crime Stoppers, with Ossining Police Chief Joseph Burton, talks about the re-launch of the Westchester County Crime Stoppers (WCCS) during a press conference at Birdsall-Fagan Police and Court Facility in Ossining March 18, 2011. WCCS is offering a reward up to $1,000 for information about armed bank robberies at the Hudson City Branch in Larchmont and the JP Morgan Chase in Dobbs Ferry. ( Carucha L. Meuse / The Journal News )

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Westchester County Crime Stoppers back on the beat, offering cash rewards

Joan Sharrock-Artis, right, is overcome with emotions when she talks about the death of her son, Herbert W. Sharrock during a press conference about the relaunch of the Westchester County Crime Stoppers at the Birdsall-Fagan Police and Court Facility in Ossining on Friday. Westchester County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward up to $1,000 for information about armed bank robberies at the Hudson City Branch in Larchmont, above, and the JP Morgan Chase in Dobbs Ferry. / Carucha L. Meuse/The Journal News

OSSINING — Herbert Sharrock was shot and killed a block from the village’s police department on Sept. 24, 2000, after defending a woman being harassed by a stranger for a cigarette.

The suspect, Malcolm Walters, was found by police six days later hiding out at a Bronx housing complex following an anonymous tip called into the Westchester County Crime Stoppers hotline. At the time, Crime Stoppers was offering a $5,000 reward for information.

On Friday, Sharrock’s family praised Crime Stoppers for finding Walters, who was later convicted of second-degree manslaughter.

“It’s really hard on the victim’s family when the predator is at large,” said Sharrock’s sister, Vicki Sharrock-Garnett. “When they’re found, it doesn’t bring them back, but it brings closure to the family knowing they were caught.”

Westchester County Crime Stoppers, or WCCS, which had folded about five years ago, has now been revived by volunteer civilians looking to assist law enforcement throughout Westchester to “mitigate and solve crimes.” The organization has 10 board members, including two from the Westchester County Chiefs of Police Association.

Cases like Sharrock’s show the value of such an effort, authorities said.

“The idea is to engage the community to participate, to be the eyes and ears of the police department,” said WCCS Chairman Derickson Lawrence, a financial executive from Mount Vernon.

To kick off the relaunch, WCCS announced Friday cash rewards for information about two recent armed robberies, including one on March 10 in Larchmont at Hudson City Bank, 2040 Boston Post Road, and the other on March 11 in Dobbs Ferry at the JPMorgan Chase Bank, 12 Ashford Ave. WCCS is offering up to $1,000 for each. The anonymous, toll-free tip line is 1-800-898-8477.

Village of Ossining Police Chief Joseph Burton, president of the county Chiefs of Police Association, said he supports WCCS and believes it will have an impact on reducing crime.

“It’s a tool that was missing from the tool box,” Burton said. “You would hope that people would see something and report something. But some people need incentive and if that incentive is a dollar we’ll approach it that way.”

A fundraising campaign to support WCCS is now under way. Lawrence said they are seeking corporate sponsorships including $500, $1,000 and $1,500 donations. Bumper stickers will also be sold to the public for $25, he said.

On Thursday, WCCS is hosting an inaugural breakfast from 8 to 10 a.m. to seek additional financial support at Wartburg Adult Care Community, 1 Wartburg Place, Mount Vernon. County Executive Robert Astorino is the keynote speaker. Tickets are $50.

“I think it’s a very good idea,” said Sharrock’s mother, Joan Sharrock-Artis, of bringing back WCCS. “Sometimes when people get paid, they talk.”