Nearly 100 Lincoln County officers will soon receive personalized business cards as part of Crimestoppers’ recent initiative to not only show gratitude for the area’s two prominent law enforcement agencies but also promote the nonprofit organization within the community.
According to Crimestoppers board member Tom Hawk, a majority of officers with the Lincolnton Police Department and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office currently possess generic business cards with a line to write-in their name and general contact information about their individual agency.
Only certain higher-ranked cops and deputies or officers willing to purchase their own have business cards with their personal contacts and name.
Hawk said the issue is due to both law enforcement agencies’ budget constraints.
Board members recently opted to order personalized business cards for 97 officers including 27 for city police and 72 for deputies.
Most of the officers receiving the new business cards work patrol shifts.
Crimestoppers is working with Staples in Lincolnton and Store Manager Rebecca Pate to create the cards. Hawk said funds for the project stemmed from local donations.
In addition to supplying a more professional product for officers to handout to witnesses, victims and other individuals within the community, Crimestoppers hopes the cards will promote their own goal, which according to the county website, is a safer community environment through citizen involvement.
“We get the publicity, and officers get something more distinguished,” Hawk said.
The back of each business card will list the organization’s phone number and other essential information including reminders that tips may be anonymous and any tips leading to an arrest or indictment are eligible for reward money.
Board members are concerned about the dip in tips they’ve witnessed over the last several months. They have even had months in which the organization’s tip line didn’t ring at all.
Hawk noted Crimestoppers sends all tips to whichever local law enforcement agency maintains jurisdiction over the particular incident.
“We’re here to help officers, not go around them,” Hawk said. “We want to augment them not diminish them.”
Board members feel the low statistics are directly related to people’s lack of knowledge about the organization or incorrect idea that a source name and contact must accompany a tip.
“There are some people who don’t want to call the police,” Hawk said. “That’s a natural reaction.
Sources may even maintain anonymity when claiming reward money, which can be as high as $1,000.
“The money goes to the bank, and the person picks it up through a code rather than a name,” Hawk said.
He noted one reward check still remains unclaimed.
Overall, Crimestoppers wants to make officers’ jobs easier and grant them the community respect they deserve, Hawk said.
To reach Crimestoppers, call (704) 736-8909 or visit lincolncounty.org to learn more about the organization.
“I can’t say enough praises for the Crimestoppers board and the blessing they have been to our agency and to the citizens of our county,” Sheriff David Carpenter said.