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Virginia Beach veteran volunteer logs 3,500 hours answering tip line

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Posted at 6:50 PM, May 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 18:50:21-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - “Good afternoon, this is Virginia Beach Crime Solvers. May I help you?”

Retired Navy Submariner Chuck Steenburgh helps Virginia Beach Police solve crimes through the Crime Solvers program, where people submit tips anonymously and can receive cash for the information.

“I do some research from the police databases to provide some advance information to the detectives," he explained.

And while he’s logged 3,500 hours at the first precinct, he doesn’t get paid.

“I enjoy it, and I also feel like I’m contributing," he said.

Chuck’s wife is on the Crime Line Board of Directors, and she suggested he volunteer here. That was 10 years ago, and he hasn’t slowed down since.

We waited in the lobby while an officer went in to get Chuck. He had no idea why.

When the door opened, applause erupted from the lobby where we were hiding. We surprised him with a News 3 People Taking Action award and a $300 gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank.

While he was surprised to see our cameras, perhaps the biggest surprise was who showed up next: Virginia Beach Police Chief Paul Neudigate!

“I asked them to get you a blue uniform and a gun belt," the chief told him. “Thank you so much for your dedication to this organization, and we value everything thing you bring for us.”

Chuck was grinning ear to ear to see the chief, assistant chief and other top brass who were there to honor him.

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"We really, when it comes down to it, are just the paid volunteers to engage in this type of work on behalf of the community, and now we have someone who is altruistic who does it on their own time, and we can’t thank him enough.”

And especially with police being seen in a negative light in recent months, Chuck feels that the department needs his help now more than ever.

“They need our support. They need our backup," he said.

To nominate someone for a People Taking Action Award, click here.