Originally formed as Crime Stoppers of Raleigh County was formed in September of 1993. Frank R. Lavender, a retired WV State Trooper and the newly elected Sheriff of Raleigh County, had become aware of the Crime Stoppers programs during out-of-state travels. During his travels, he noted billboards, television promos and newspaper articles relating to the Crime Stoppers programs. Noting the apparent success of the program, he was eager to see such a program implemented to help in the fight against crime in Raleigh County. Even though Crime Stoppers works closely with law enforcement agencies, it is a nonprofit organization governed by a mostly civilian Board of Directors. Sheriff Lavender recruited Lenox Profitt to start a Crime Stoppers program for Raleigh County. Sheriff Lavender knew Lenox Profitt to be a conscientous citizen who had strong community ties, was ambitious, had an out-going personality and, as a retiree, had time to pursue and promote such a program. After a little research of his own into the program, Lenox shared in Lavender's enthusiasm. Lenox contacted Crime Stoppers International and Crime Stoppers programs in bordering states to get ideas about setting up such a program for Raleigh County. He proceeded to talk to Chiefs of other law enforcement agencies as well as local business men and women and people within the community, rounding up a small group of people for the first meeting. It was obvious at that meeting that the community, the media and the law enforcement were ready to work together in the fight against crime. Thus, Crime Stoppers of Raleigh County was formed with Lenox Profitt serving as the first President.
And we can't recall the early days of Crime Stoppers without acknowledging the efforts of Jack Lytton (now deceased). Jack, who was also recruited by Sheriff Lavender, was relentless in his fundraising efforts to get monies needed to get Crime Stoppers off the ground.
Upon advertising the program through television and newspaper, the calls began coming in. It was only a matter of days that the first successful tip was received. The Tipster advised that a riding lawn mower had been stolen from WalMart in Beckley, providing the name of the perpetrator and where the perpetrator lived in a bordering county. Sure enough, when the Sheriff's Department in that county checked at the reported suspect's residence, the riding lawnmower in question was discovered.
As law enforcement officers already knew, it became apparent to Crime Stoppers that criminals do not limit their activities to their home county, especially in theft and drug cases. Investigations often led into other counties. Furthermore, Crime Stoppers ads and news stories on television and radio were seen and heard by a viewing audience outside of Raleigh County, resulting in calls from surrounding counties. As a result, Crime Stoppers of Raleigh County became 'Crime Stoppers of Raleigh County & Surrounding Communities.' When a tip comes in from a neighboring community, that information is faxed to law enforcement in the respective county.
Crime Stoppers does not have 'paid' personnel. The Crime Stoppers Board of Directors is made up of people who volunteer their time and efforts for meetings and fundraising events.
Crime Stoppers cannot operate without a direct working relationship with the various law enforcement agencies. Once a tip has been received, Crime Stoppers must rely on a law enforcement personnel to confirm if there are in fact warrants on subjects or if crimes have been reported that tips have been received on, etc.. Since the inception of Crime Stoppers of Raleigh County in 1993, there have been new Sheriff's elected (Sheriff Danny Moore and now Sheriff Steve Tanner), new Beckley City Police Chief (Lonnie Christian) as well as State Police Captains. Fortunately, these newly elected and/or appointed agency heads have welcomed the concept of Crime Stoppers and have been supportive in our endeavors. Many Crime Stoppers tips have led law enforcement officers on 'wild goose chases' so to speak, yet they continue to follow up on tips as they come in. And, of course, if you check the "Statistics" portion of this site, you will see that a lot of valid tips have been received.