Welcome to the Wisconsin State Crime Stoppers, Inc. Web Site!

From Our President,
K. Scott Abrams, CPA, FHFMA


I am sure many of you recall our most recent summer with the extreme heat and drought conditions throughout our state of Wisconsin. How quickly time flies as we move into autumn, a changing of the seasons. It doesn't seem all that long ago I watched these barren trees begin to sprout leaf buds in early April.  As spring moved into summer, the trees were bursting with full, green leaves.   And then recently, I watched as the green leaves that were previously abundant on the trees transition to golden brown and complete the process by gently falling to the ground.  A lifecycle in and of itself.


I am sure we have all experienced transitions as we go through life, perhaps likening this to moving from season to season on the calendar. Life transitions can be much more dramatic and impactful. Many of you may recall that I have been serving as Crime Stoppers USA Chairperson for the last two years. Since I was an incorporator for Crime Stoppers USA, our bylaws require that a board member serve no more than 10 consecutive years on the board. Therefore, I am no longer eligible to run for any officer or board positions with Crime Stoppers USA for a two-year duration. Although I will continue on as the Immediate Past Chairman, I have been busily working with the new leadership team in developing a seamless and beneficial transition process.


I've used this analogy before, but our local Crime Stoppers organization's operate in many ways like a small business. Each local program is autonomous and functions on the governance of a community board of directors. There is a hierarchical organizational structure so decisions can be made while being accountable to the Board of Directors. Finances are key to the success of any business, as well as to our Crime Stoppers organization. Certain planning measures are put in place to make sure that the organization establishes, follows through and meets the vision, mission and expectations of our local Crime Stoppers programs.


As I look at the local Crime Stoppers organizations, not only in Wisconsin, but around the United States, the turnover rate for boards and leadership approximates over 30% each year, based on my informal studies. Thinking back to your own business or profession, if you're business experienced a 30% turnover rate each year, you may lose a lot of continuity, experience and expertise within your organization. However, in general business, a 5 to 7% annual attrition rate is more likely the norm.


Therefore, since Crime Stoppers experience a higher turnover rate in board members and officers, it is important to establish an appropriate business plan identifying a transition process from one board chairman position to another.  This will allow the new incoming chairman to build on the legacy created by the previous chairman and allow the board to continue moving forward, rather than having to reinvent many processes, policies and procedures going forward. It will allow for a seamless transition so your local Crime Stoppers program continues to offer a high quality service and making our communities safer at the same time.


I suggest looking internally within your organization and identify whether you have an appropriate succession and transition plan in place so your local Crime Stoppers program does not lose momentum when you have a change in board member or chairperson. This would certainly represent best practice for a Crime Stoppers program!