Crime Stoppers Press Release

Crime Stoppers International 22nd Training Conference
Crime Stoppers of Palm Beach County, Inc.

Sgt. Jim DeFago, Coordinator/Business Manager, along with John Z. Shwiner the President for Crime Stoppers of Palm Beach County, Inc., attended the Crime Stoppers International 22nd Training Conference in Pueblo, Colorado from September 17, 2001 - September 22, 2001.

After attending several CSI Conferences, the opening ceremonies at this one proved to be the most emotional of any conference I have ever attended. Instead of holding the Opening Ceremony at the Convention Center, it was held a block away at a historically registered (built in 1919) City Hall building with theatre seating facing the stage. The ceremonies were hosted by a young lady that presents Pueblo Crime Stoppers on a daily basis, as News Anchor for a CBS affiliate. Listed below are some highlights of the conference:
  • Individuals presentation of the colors (flags) of all 16 CSI member countries. The flags were carried by high school students individually presenting them from the back of the auditorium and mounting them on stage.
  • A moment of silence followed by a solo presentation of America the Beautiful, in which everyone eventually joined in.
  • In memory of those lives lost, a Tartan dressed in kilted uniform came from the back of the auditorium and proceeded on to the stage, then slowly and methodically leaving the stage to exit out the opposite aisle while playing Amazing Grace on his Bagpipe.
  • John Walsh, host of America's Most Wanted our guest speaker, opened the conference by stating that he had a person in the audience (of 600 plus) that he wanted to thank for having the "Best" Crime Stoppers and Student Crime Stoppers program in the world. That person was Sgt. Jim DeFago. John Walsh then recanted his time spent with the "Rescue One" team in New York, prior to their demise on September 11th. He spoke of meeting a family where the son, father and grandfather were members of this elite rescue team. Members of "Rescue One" are firefighters that do not fight fires. Their purpose is to save the lives of firemen and policemen trapped in fires. The father and grandfather, of this family, had died in the line of duty and, now, the son was lost (as were all members of Rescue One) attempting to save lives in this disaster.
  • Among commissioners, mayors, law enforcement and townspeople speakers, a special presentation was made by Crime Stoppers of Pueblo to a woman who's 26 year - old son had been missing for over a year. By Pueblo Crime Stoppers bringing this case to the public, and anonymous tip led to the arrest of a suspect accused of shooting the young man three times and dumping his body. When tipster was informed of the $1,000 reward, he had requested the money be donated to the mother so she could apply this money toward a decent burial of her son. They presented her with the check on stage.
  • Proceeding these events, another soloist began singing God Bless America in which, again everyone joined in.

It gives me great honor to inform you that. Because of the support of the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, all law enforcement agencies in palm Beach County, the media and the community of Palm Beach County, Crime Stoppers of Palm Beach County, Inc., received the following awards:
  • Most Improved "Most Cases Solved"
  • Most Improved "Most Arrest Made"
  • 1st Place -Public Service Announcement - "Student Crime Stoppers" production.

John Shwiner the President of Crime Stoppers of Palm Beach County, Inc., was honored by receiving the "Citizen of the Year" award for his hard work and dedication. This award is given to the top civilian around the world.

Sgt. Jim DeFago the Coordinator/Business Manager of Crime Stoppers of Palm Beach County was the recipient of the most prestigious award given by Crime Stoppers International, the "Coralee Wagner" award. This award was named in honor of Coralee Wagner, who's dedication to Crime Stoppers and Crime Stoppers organizations was typically demonstrated from her hospital bed, while dying of cancer, and still working with her Crime Stoppers organization along with other groups over the phone. Sgt. Jim DeFago also has that demonstrates that same dedication, by starting over 300 "Student Crime Stoppers" programs around the world, sometimes working 16 hour days, weekend and holidays, getting the Crime Stoppers message out to the public.