“Things like this never happen to us. Then it did” – Sharlene Bosma speaking to Crime Stoppers.

November 29, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  It was the 25th Anniversary celebration for Crime Stoppers in Canada.  Lots of people from the police community taking the decent sized audience through the statistics and telling us about the role Crime Stoppers plays.

Carolyn Wallace spoke on behalf of Burlington MP Mike Wallace – she was as good a speaker as her husband, perhaps a bit better.

Halton Regional police chief Stephen Tanner

The chief of police spoke and then introduced a tall, dark-haired, attractive willowy woman who quietly said she was Sharlene Bosma.  The room was suddenly quiet, almost tight.

“It was seven months ago” explained Sharlene “that my husband left the house never to be seen by any of us again. 

Sharlene Bosma with friends after her remarks to Halton Crime Stoppers.

“I knew about Crime Stoppers,” she said, “I had seen it on TV but it was never a service you expect to use.  I knew about the tips people could send in to Crime Stoppers.”

“We were so numb that first few days – we were desperate but we didn’t know what to do.  The house became Command Central and then, quite quickly, there were all these posters put out by Crime Stoppers.

“Family and hundreds of friends were around the house” she continued  – pausing several times, working hard to keep it together.

“We had no idea how many calls there were.  At one point the police email service was overloaded and Crime Stoppers was able to fill the gap.”

“We were so desperate – waiting and waiting.”

“Never underestimate” she said “the value of family, friends and neighbours.” Each pause was a painful effort to keep it together.

“The terrible things people do to each other” brought the hearts of all of us in the room to our throats.

“Things like this” she continued, “never happen to us”

“Then it did”

Small smiles were possible

And at that point most of the people in the room were about to lose it as we heard an incredibly strong human being lower her head and say “Thank you”.

The applause was both significant and sustained.  The people in the room were law enforcement types.  Tough people who deal with the worst day in day out. Dennis Farr, a former Halton intelligence officer and an accomplished interrogator was there along with former Halton Chief of Police Gary Crowley

Cal Millar, former head of Crime Stoppers in Halton was on hand along with the new police officer servicing as police liaison with the organization.

The audience had heard the statistics about the vital role Crime Stoppers plats in keeping the community safe.

Claire Gibbon, a Crime Stoppers board member, talked about when her home had been burglarized and how Crime Stoppers helps us “keep one another safe.”

To date for 2013 Crime Stoppers was responsible for 1011 arrests and 2035 clearances.  A clearance is a crime for which there was no suspect but found later to have been committed by a person under arrest.

The fact and the figures mattered but what I think most people took away was the strength and the beauty with which Sharlene Bosma presented herself and the thanks she gave “for stepping in when I needed you most.”

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