Mayor Errick Simmons, Vice Mayor Lurann Thomas, Councilwoman Lois Hawkins, the Greenville Fire Department, the Greenville Police Department, Crimestoppers of Washington County, Washington County Sheriff’s Department and Juvenile Court officers came together Friday in the City Hall chambers for a Public Safety Meeting to discuss the recent spike in crime in Greenville.
At the meeting, officials discussed Crimestoppers, the missing 16-year-old Kamrone Lee and Joe Sykes’ death and the update on the Sky Cop Crime Prevention Cameras.
Crimestoppers Chairman Marvin Minor said Crimestoppers is a concept by which a community entity works with the police and the media, which is like a three-legged stool. And, the success of that concept depends on all three legs doing their particular part.
“I walked in the shoes of these officers and I know there are cases where they leave you stumped and there may be certain motivations out there that will cause someone to say, ‘Well I may give a little information’ and that’s what Crimestoppers is all about,” Minor said.
Some people give tips and never come and ask for money because they just want to help solve the case, he said, noting there are other people, particularly young adults, who are willing to turn someone in exchange for money. Minor said throughout law enforcement, around the country and around the world, information about criminals tends to come from other criminals.
“A lot of times, you can get your best information from someone that was involved in the situation,” Minor explained.
Crimestoppers maintains a pool of money that can be given to anonymous tipsters. The tipster can call in and the information is collected in an anonymous place in Texas before it’s sent back. No one can access the identity of the people who call. They give the information to the officer and he or she goes out and works it up and tells the coordinator if the tip leads them to a solid arrest. Then, the coordinator comes back and suggests whether or not a reward should be paid to encourage people to continue help the community.
“If you know something, say something,” Minor said.
Missing juvenile, Joe Sykes death
Minor said Crimestoppers have been thinking about two current situations that needs to be solved or handled before it turns into a cold case: The missing juvenile, Kamrone Lee, and the murder of Joe Sykes.
Minor said sometimes law enforcement officers run up against a cold spell where no information is given. So, as in many instances, the case drifts on from their conscience and it becomes a cold case that is eventually 2-3 years old. Minor said they are trying to do something to bring people’s attention back to what the officers are trying to do regarding Sykes’ and Lee’s cases.
Minor said law enforcement officers have often said the longer a teenager is missing, the more probability that something bad can happen because he is not under adult supervision.
Minor proposed that in an effort to assist local law enforcement in solving these two cases. Crimestoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information leading to the location of missing 16-year-old Kamrone Lee and will pay a reward starting at $1,000 for information leading to an arrest for the homicide of former security officer Joe Sykes.
Lee went missing after leaving his Utah Street home the morning July 11 and his family has not seen him since.
Sykes, a longtime security officer at Doe’s Eat Place, was shot and killed June 22 in the 400 block of Sunflower Street.
Crimestoppers can be reached at 662-378-8477. The caller’s name is not required and will be assigned a code number. If the information given helps solves either case, a reward will be paid.
Vice Mayor Lurann Thomas said she was honored to be at the meeting in the presence of the Crimestoppers organization, which has been apart of the Greenville community for a very long time. She said that both situations needs full cooperation from everyone to ease the worries of both families.
“Kamrone Lee is still missing. Our prayers are certainly with him as well as his family. We are going to do anything humanly possible to help all of our entities to help locate Kamrone. He is a student at Greenville High and we want to be a part of bringing him home and he can continue his education,” Thomas said. “Mr. Joe Sykes was a long time member of this community working security at Doe’s. I’m sure this whole community is rallying behind his family and rallying behind the City of Greenville to make sure we’re doing all that we can. Our police department, sheriff department and people within the community and our honorable mayor and city council are willing and able to come together as we are as a family to make sure that we do the best that we can to find Kamrone Lee and give Mr. Sykes family some sort of ease in his death.”
Councilwoman Lois Hawkins shared similar feelings as Thomas.
“We have to work together and come as one and show both families that we are helping and that these issues are being swept under the rug,” Hawkins said. “I know members of the community feel as though we haven’t done enough but after this meeting, I can ensure them that we are getting the ball rolling and we are going to get done together.”
Sky Cop update
The Sky Cop will be placed in two locations in Greenville within the next few weeks for a 30-day trial period.
Major Misty Litton of the Greenville Police Department said she is excited to test out the Sky Cop cameras.
“We feel that it is going to be successful. We are very excited about it. It will help us get the intel on who’s doing what,” Litton said.
“The City of Greenville continues to take a collective approach to not only curb crime and violence, but also to solve cases in our community,” Mayor Simmons said. “I sincerely thank the City Council, GPD, Sheriff Milton Gaston and the Sheriff’s Department, GFD, Crime Stoppers, and the general public for collaboratively working to provide vital information regarding the Lee and Sykes matters.”