Crime Stoppers of MN is looking for more volunteers to help the non-profit organization – Twin Cities

Crime Stoppers of Minnesota is always looking for tips on unsolved crimes, and now they have a different request — they’re looking for volunteers who can help the nonprofit expand its work.

The all-volunteer organization manages tips people call or send, and gets info to law enforcement. They offer prizes, usually up to $1,000, and people can remain anonymous.

But they don’t have enough volunteers to do much else, said Camila Gadotti, the new head of Crime Stoppers. They have big plans if they can get more people to help.

“We need to make Crime Stoppers more well known, so when people see something questionable or concerning, they think of us first if they don’t want to call the police,” Gadotti said. “… Our entire mission revolves around ensuring the complete anonymity of informants.”

The goal of Crimes Stoppers is to act as a bridge between the community and law enforcement to help solve crimes. The organization receives more than 500 tips a year involving crimes across Minnesota, Gadotti said.

Chair lives in St. Paul, care about safety

Gadotti’s career has been as a businessman and scientist; he’s president of a large life sciences testing company.

Camila Gadotti (Photo courtesy)

When she wanted to get more involved in volunteering, she thought, “Let me find something I’m passionate about, so I can help.” Having grown up in Brazil, Gadotti said, “I have horror stories of things that have happened, like being mugged at gunpoint.”

Gadotti, from St. Paul, decided Crime Stoppers was a good place to spend his energy because he cares about safety. He started volunteering with the organization about a year ago.

Gadotti was elected chairman of the board in January. He and the board members review their priorities for the year and they decide to recruit volunteers first.

In the past, Crime Stoppers could offer enhanced rewards — $10,000, for example, for information leading to solving a murder. But with those bigger awards comes a need for legal expertise for contracts and more work to manage, said Gadotti.

They are looking for volunteers to update the Crime Stoppers website and manage social media. They can also use the help of fundraising.

Crime Stoppers of Minnesota is funded by some private donations, but mostly from law enforcement departments throughout Minnesota which pay a fee to receive tips from Crime Stoppers and work with the organization to highlight cases, according to Gadotti.

Deputy Chief Constable St. Paul Paul Ford, who oversees major crime, said investigators found “a small piece of information can make a big difference” as they investigate cases. Facilitating Tip Crime Stoppers “can mean suspects are held accountable, victims get justice and we as a society are safer,” he said.

Crime Stoppers pays call centers that accept tips by telephone to 800-222-8477; people can also submit tips through the Crime Stoppers of Minnesota website or an app called “P3 Tips”.

Volunteers, known as “tip handlers”, check tips submitted daily and ensure they are forwarded to the proper law enforcement. “That’s the most important job we do,” said Gadotti. For people who aspire to volunteer as “tip handlers,” they will be starting other roles and learning about the organization before they are considered volunteers to manage tips.

Michael William Stewart, left, and Alejandro Rios. (Photo courtesy)

Unsolved case

Crime Stoppers features unsolved cases, including the double murders of Alejandro Rios, 21, and Michael Stewart, 39, in St. Paul.

They were gunned down in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood in 2021. The St. Paul previously announced that investigators were still asking anyone with information to come forward, and that people could do so anonymously through Crime Stoppers.

Paul Fisher (Photo courtesy)

“I feel like because it’s been so long, it’s a forgotten thing,” Ronda Stewart, Stewart’s wife, recently said. “… I just pray that someone comes forward and he gets his justice.”

Another murder highlighted by Crime Stoppers is the 2019 shooting of Paul Fisher in South Minneapolis. The 27 year old was returning to his apartment when he was killed.

Fisher’s mother, Patti Swedberg, said she still believes that talking about what happened to her son “might make people think” and maybe get someone to share information.

For potential volunteers

Crime Stoppers is looking for volunteers from all career backgrounds, but especially people with legal experience, such as lawyers, paralegals or clerks; information and technology, such as web design, computer science or IT management; and public relations and marketing. The time commitment is about four hours per month.

People interested in volunteering can email [email protected]; put “I want to volunteer” in the subject line and include their resume.

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