An employee of the Tupelo Police Department has been appointed by Gov. Kirk Fordice to serve as a member of a newly formed statewide Crime Stoppers Advisory Council.
Margaret Cooper, coordinator of Crime Stoppers of Northeast Mississippi Inc., is one of five people chosen to sit on the policymaking and procedural board. Each adviser will serve a two-year term beginning July 1.
“I am very excited about this,” Cooper said. She said her duties on the new board will hopefully enhance the operation in this area. She will continue in her current position with the Tupelo-based program as well as commute back and forth to Jackson for meetings with the statewide council.
Other members on the statewide board include Charles N. Brown of Starkville; Gregory A. Payne of Gulfport; Sheldon Gooch of Jackson; and Robert S. Gaddie of Laurel.
“I think that her selection is a statement that we have a strong Crime Stoppers program in the Tupelo area,” said interim Police Chief Jerry Crocker.
The Crime Stoppers Advisory Council was formed out of the 1996 Mississippi legislative session as a way to provide information on different crimes from different areas to law enforcement agencies across the state.
Plans are also to develop a 1-800 number so that residents without Crime Stoppers will have a number to report information about criminal activities and fugitives.
The advisory council will also help areas without a tipster line set up Crime Stoppers programs.
Currently there are 11 individual and multijurisdictional Crime Stoppers facilities located throughout the state. Crime Stoppers of Northeast Mississippi, based out of Tupelo, covers Chickasaw, Lee and Prentiss counties.
Cooper, 33, a Baton Rouge native, joined the Tupelo Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Unit in 1993, shortly after the tipsters information line opened.
Under Cooper’s directorship, tips have been called in that have led to arrests in 125 cases, three of which were murders cases.
In January, Cooper was instrumental in getting a Crime Stoppers program implemented in Tupelo High School. It was the first time in the state that a crime calling line was placed inside a school.