The Springfield Division has selected John Z. Hecker to receive the Director's Community Leadership Award.
Mr. Hecker is recognized for his notable contributions to the community he serves. He has served as president of the Champaign County Crime Stoppers since its inception in 1986. To date, the Champaign County Crime Stoppers has solved over 1,515 cases and has paid rewards of over $77,000. Mr. Hecker and the Champaign County Crime Stoppers credit the ongoing support from the citizens and the media outlets that have shown a strong commitment to solving crime in Champaign County. Mr. Hecker is to be commended for the actions and recommendations to implement state-of-the-art technology and to move the Champaign County Crime Stoppers to a new level.
It is estimated that the organization gets about 25 percent of its tips through its website and text messages sent via cell phones. Deputy Chief Troy Daniels, who is a board member and coordinator for the Champaign County Crime Stoppers states, "The important thing about web and text tips is young people are using that type of technology. If we want to reach them, we need to provide an opportunity for them to use the methods they're comfortable with." The software for the web and text technology strips identifying information from the tipster, so Crime Stoppers and police are not capable of seeing who is sending it. Another great aspect is that digital pictures of suspects and stolen property can be uploaded to the website as part of a tip. Champaign County Crime Stoppers is also now using social networking to get their message out through Facebook.
Mr. Hecker is the president of and partner in Stipes Publishing LLC, Champaign, Illinois. Stipes Publishing LLC has been in business for more than 60 years. Mr. Hecker's other community activities include a long list of organizations such as the Rotary Club of Champaign, and serving as vice president of The Illini Rebounders, on the board of directors for First Federal Bank, and as a member of the First United Methodist Church.