La Crosse Area Crime Stoppers helps lead to nearly 2,000 arrests since inception

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – A volunteer organization continues to help law enforcement catch criminals in the community. The La Crosse Area Crime Stoppers offers the public a chance to keep their community safe while remaining anonymous. La Crosse Area Crime Stoppers has led to nearly 2,000 arrests since it started in the 1980s.

Dan Schwaab is an avid Packer fan. He is also senior vice president of retail operations at Altra Federal Credit Union.

“I have been here for 25 years,” Schwaab said. “I am basically in charge of our branches, our contact center, and our lending center.”

His career is not his only responsibility.

“This is not my only job,” he said. “I am fortunate to be the President of the La Crosse Area Crime stoppers.”

Crime Stoppers was founded in 1976 in New Mexico. The La Crosse branch has been helping law enforcement since 1984.

“We work closely with law enforcement so people can provide tips in a confidential manner.”

The La Crosse Area Crime Stoppers is not part of any police department. It is made up of 20 volunteers who help connect law enforcement to tips. Crime Stoppers is solely funded with donations that are also used to payout rewards. For years, 784-TIPS was how people offered information, but with growing technology, it’s easier than ever. Today, people can use their cell phones to offer a tip and they still don’t have to use their name.

“If you see someone at that moment who you know is wanted, the fact that you can get that information to us almost instantly really benefits the program,” said Sgt. Tom Walsh with the La Crosse Police Department.

Schwaab said people may not be comfortable giving their names. This allows them to have a better chance to receive important information from the public.

“Their name is never given,” Schwaab said. “They just use the tip number.”

This process works. In 2018, several tips came in that led police to a drug house in La Crosse.

“The tips that came in allowed our investigators to actively investigate that,” Walsh said.

Those tips helped shut down a dangerous operation within the city.

“That tip led to the arrest and basically we were able to close that operation down which was near a school,” Schwaab said.

Schwaab lives and works in this community. He said he is happy to help run a service that helps put dangerous people where they belong.

“I have kids,” Schwaab said. “I have friends who have kids. We want our community to be a safe place for people to live.”

La Crosse Police are actively investigating two La Crosse Crimes. Twenty-seven-year-old Shavonte Thompson is wanted in connection to a Northside Homicide.
Twenty-one-year-old Gerald Pemberton is wanted for an attack on a Rudy’s Drive-In employee last October.

Anyone with information on these two individuals is asked to call La Crosse Police at 608-789-7200 or La Crosse Area Crime Stoppers at 608-784-TIPS (8477). Information about La Crosse Area Crime Stoppers can be found here.