MADD, Crime Stoppers Aim to Get Drunk Drivers/Criminals Off the Streets

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James Baines, secretary of the local chapter of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and president of the Vance County Crime Stoppers, was on Tuesday’s edition of WIZS’ Town Talk program to discuss his involvement with both organizations.


In explaining the mission of MADD, Baines said the simple answer is that it is a volunteer group of people who care about the community and want to help get drunk drivers off the roads. “We need the community’s support; we can’t do this alone,” explained Baines.

Volunteers are needed in the following areas:

  • Community Outreach – volunteers who will create awareness of MADD’S mission
  • Court Monitors – volunteers who are trained to observe court process and record court decisions
  • Sobriety Checkpoints – volunteers who will support law enforcement officers at checkpoints
  • Victims Advocate Services – volunteers who are trained to assist in the healing journey by offering emotional support for families who endure a loss of a loved one due to a drunk driver

According to Baines, court monitors receive training on how to record the proceedings and outcomes of local DWI trials, while volunteers at sobriety checkpoints assist by providing law enforcement with meals and refreshments.

While he did not have exact figures, Baines said sobriety checkpoints typically result in 3 – 4 charges of DWI, no operator’s license, no auto insurance coverage and underage drinking.

To help combat the problem of underage drinking and driving, MADD has started a “Power of You(th)” program aimed at educating high school students.

Baines has seen his fair share of young lives ruined by drunk driving in his over 30-year career with the Vance County Sheriff’s Office. “The kids need to know that they could kill or injure someone if they drink and drive. You don’t want to ruin your life. We want them to know if they do drink, they need to find someone else to drive.”

The local chapter of MADD meets once a quarter – on the fourth Tuesday of the given month – at 6 p.m. in the County Commissioners’ Room inside the “old courthouse” on Young St. in Henderson. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 23, 2019.

If you are interested in joining or volunteering, please call Lorraine Watkins, president of the local MADD chapter, at (252) 492-8407.

Vance County Crime Stoppers

Switching hats, Baines, the recently named president of the Vance County Crime Stoppers, discussed the organization’s mission and fundraising opportunities.

Baines said his love for his community and for its leaders and citizens prompted him to join the organization five years ago. “I wanted to make a better community for our kids and grandkids. I’m going to do my best [as president] to make Henderson and Vance County a safer place to live and work.”

Crime Stoppers works much the same way that it has for its now 25-year history – those that witness a crime can call the hotline at (252) 492-1925 to report an anonymous tip. If that tip leads to an arrest or a conviction, the caller can be paid up to $2,000. Tips can also be reported by text via the P3 app.

Various Crime Stopper fundraisers, including the annual Kerr Lake golf tournament and annual recognition and award banquet, provide money for paying out eligible hotline tips.

“We want the community to be our eyes and ears. Our law enforcement officers get up every morning and don’t know if they are going to make it home to their families. If you see anything, say it! Don’t be afraid to call and leave a tip.”

Vance County Crime Stoppers is always looking for new members and is currently accepting applications for volunteers to serve on the Advisory Board. With questions or more information on joining Crime Stoppers, please call James Baines at (252) 430-9218.

To hear the interview with James Baines in its entirety, please click here.

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