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Handing over the keys

Profile image for By Megan Gray / Staff Writer
By Megan Gray / Staff Writer

Crime Stoppers program names new coordinator

Denton County Crime Stoppers has a new leader.

Sgt. Roger Griggs handed over the keys of the Denton County Crime Stoppers sport utility vehicle Friday to newly named coordinator, Deputy Penny Campbell.

“I am really beyond excited to be able to add this part-time position onto my everyday role,” Campbell, a community outreach coordinator, said on her new duties. “The position fits well with what I already do.”

Campbell said as the outreach coordinator, she spends most of her time out in the community — be it working a Denton County Sheriff’s Office booth at the North Texas Fair and Rodeo or in a classroom setting with the Juvenile Impact Program, a four-hour class for first-time offenders and at-risk youth.

Campbell, along with deputies Amanda Allen and Charley Smith, brought home the “Program of the Year” award last October at the 102nd annual convention for the International Association for Truancy and Dropout Prevention in New Orleans for the Juvenile Impact Program.

“I’m looking forward to just spreading the word and letting other agencies know we are here to work together,” she said.

Griggs’ last day with the Denton County Sheriff’s Office was Friday, after serving 20 years with the county. The last eight, Griggs said, he held the Crime Stoppers coordinator position.

Crime Stoppers is an independent organization, Griggs said, and funded with money from the court system. It’s an anonymous tip line where people can turn someone in, without fear of retaliation. Callers are paid up to $1,000 for tips that lead to arrests and are paid using a numbered system at a bank drive-through lane.

“Your job is to pass out pamphlets, cards, anything to make people aware of who we are and what we do,” Griggs said.

The coordinator wears many hats, he said, but mainly acts as a liaison between the sheriff and the Crime Stoppers board of directors.

“Once Griggs gave us his notice of leaving the department, we posted we were looking for someone to take over the position,” Chief Deputy Randy Plemons said.

After a two- to three-week search, county officials found their replacement.

Plemons said he, as well as Sheriff Will Travis, received 25 to 30 letters of interest before they decided they wanted only a licensed peace officer for the job.

“From there, we narrowed our list to 10 applicants and decided to interview Penny [Campbell], who got the job,” he said Friday afternoon.

Plemons said they had Griggs interview Campbell as well, because it was important to have him included in the selection process.

“A lot of hard work went into making the program as successful as it is and it all goes back to [Roger] Griggs and all his effort he put into the Crime Stoppers board,” Plemons said.

Campbell said she trained with Griggs for a week and while “very new” to the position, she hopes to begin utilizing social media more.

“I want to try and see us with a Twitter account like Denton police,” she said. “It helps them a lot.”

Plemons only hopes with the change, the program will continue to grow.

“I think she’s going to do great,” Griggs said Friday. “She just naturally has that type of character you need to take on the job, she is not afraid to speak in public and that’s what it takes.”

MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.