Crime Stoppers program helps bring criminals to justice

North Carolina

National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day is Wednesday, a day where people across the country can say thanks to those who serve and protect our community.

One tool law enforcement uses to do just that is Crime Stoppers.

9 On Your Side spoke with Lt. Kip Gaskins, the coordinator of the program in Pitt County, to discuss how effective it has been in eastern Carolina. 

“It gives the community a chance to participate in a reduction of crime and catching criminals, and it also gives law enforcement an opportunity to use information to solve cases that otherwise would go unsolved,” said Gaskins. 

It’s those solved cases Gaskins said makes him proud.  

Gaskins is set to retire from the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office at the end of February, but he is confident the program will be in good hands with the person taking over, Sgt. Lee Darnell. 

“I’ve learned from Lt. Gaskins a lot of patience, a lot of wisdom through the years, that’s hopefully going to help me grow in this position,” Darnell said. 

Crime Stoppers is working to increase its visibility. 

“A lot of people don’t know what Crime Stoppers is because maybe they’ve come from another area, and they didn’t have Crime Stoppers,” said Gaskins. 

The first step is keeping up with the number of new people coming into the area and informing them about what the program does. 

“They can report a crime, and nobody will ever know who they are, and they will never have to go to court,” said Gaskins. “I think that is something we really have to put out there so people won’t be afraid to call Crime Stoppers.”

Gaskins said even if only one case gets solved through the program, it’s a success.

Gaskins’ retirement marks the culmination of a career in law enforcement that started at the age of 20 in Nash and Edgecombe counties. 

He was a part of the Greenville Police Department as a patrol officer working to combat street drugs before making his way to the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office. 

Gaskins said he is confident in the way the department is going under the leadership of Sheriff Paula Dance. 

“I think it will continue to be a great organization,” Gaskins said. “I really like what I am seeing and soon to be a citizen I will be very confident that I have a great law enforcement agency to call whenever I need to.” 

Gaskins said in retirement he plans on spending more time with his family. 

A family man is what he said he wants to be remembered as. 

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