CROSSVILLE (WATE) — Crime knows no borders, and at times, can feel as though it’s happening too often in our own backyards. The Crossville Police Department and the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office are coming together, putting a whole new twist to their CrimeStoppers program.
It’s an unconventional way of tracking down criminals, with a nostalgic twist on national radio icon Casey Kasem.
“We have got to have information. Law enforcement is only as good as the information they can get,” says Lt. Brian Eckelson with the Crossville Police Department and coordinator for the Crossville-Cumberland County CrimeStoppers. “If there’s not enough incentive to give information just to help your community, sometimes a little bump to the wallet helps, and cash for anonymous information has worked for years, and it’ll continue to work.”
Many growing up in the 1980s and 1990s would wait each weekend to see if their artist made it on Casey Kasem’s American Top 40. Some of those countdowns can still be heard on local radio in Crossville.
“And that kind of led us to the thought of, well instead of doing a top ten, let’s find out who is number one, who’s our most wanted and we’ll profile them with a ‘Chasey Chase ‘Em’ spoof of the Casey Kasem countdown.”
More online: Download the P3 Tipps app for free
It’s working. Last year alone, Crossville-Cumberland County CrimeStoppers got 400 tips from their “Chasey Chase ‘Em” videos, helping them solve well over 100 cases. They profile one person every week – someone with multiple warrants for crimes on the more serious side, thay has been arrested recently, and is believed to have fled the area. Then they offer cold hard cash to turn them in.
“I’m not much of an Instagram-er, face-snapper, chat-slapper – I don’t do all that. When I started the program we had Twitter and Facebook,” said Lt. Eckelson. “I didn’t know anything about tweeting but I could figure out Facebook pretty easily.”
Teaming up with the county sheriff, they took the idea and ran with it. In turn, they helped residents ultimately help law enforcement crack down on crime in a 21st century way.
“So now we’ve started a new P3 app that you can go on to your mobile device enter the information you can even take a picture, video, send that straight to us we can communicate back and forth to get you paid,” says Lt. Eckelson. “It’s all anonymous. You never have to talk to the police. You never have to talk to somebody at CrimeStoppers.”
“These criminals are running back and forth inside the City of Crossville and Cumberland County, and so if they’re going to be doing that, we’re working hand in hand together and I’m seeing great success with that,” said Cumberland County Sheriff Casey Cox.
Led by a CrimeStoppers Board of Directors and holding fundraisers to come up with that reward money, which starts out at $200 and can go up to $2,000 depending on the crime.
“Some of it’s kind of humorous, to tell you the truth, depends on who the suspect is. But I think people think it’s positive we’re eliminating all the crime we can in the community,” said CrimeStoppers Board member Jerry Walker. “We try not to be very serious about it. We’re serious but not presenting it as serious.”
Since the Crossville-Cumberland County CrimeStoppers program’s inception in 2005, $34,775 in tip reward money has been given to anonymous callers.