City staff, Officials attend Annual Crime Stoppers Meeting

Staff from Champaign Police and the Equity and Engagement Department attended the Crime Stoppers annual meeting and luncheon on Thursday, July 28th. Mayor Feinen and Deputy Mayor Kyles were also in attendance. At the meeting, Crime Stoppers shared updates on their program, which is partially funded by the City of Champaign through the Community Gun Violence Reduction Blueprint. The keynote speaker was 2022 Dave Benton Crime Fighter of the Year Award recipient and Champaign Firefighter Verdell Jones III. Jones discussed his work with the Ft. Sooy Program and shared the need for community members to take action to make Champaign a better place.

Additionally, as part of the ceremony, Crime Stoppers announced their annual awards, including the 2023 Dave Benton Crime Fighter of the Year award, which was presented to Rev. Willie Comer for his years of work through programs like Youth for Christ and Midnight Basketball. Other awards announced included:
A statewide Crime Stoppers Award for CPD Deputy Chief Geoffrey Coon, who was named Law Enforcement Coordinator of the Year
• A statewide Crime Stoppers Award for Jeff Hamilton, who was recognized for his effort as a Crime Stoppers board member.
• A scholarship for recent Centennial graduate Samyia Kirkwood, who plans to study criminology this Fall. Kirkwood has served as a Summer Youth Employment Services employee this year with Champaign Police.