2008 Director’s Community Leadership Awards
Houston Crime Stoppers
Ms. Cabaniss, a 2008 FBI Citizen’s Academy graduate, has served as Executive Director of Crime Stoppers since September 2006. Previously, she was an Assistant District Attorney with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office for 11 years. While in the DA’s office, Ms. Cabaniss was promoted to Chief Prosecutor in the Trial Bureau, where she prosecuted felonies, including aggravated robbery, sexual assault, and capital murder. She was also assigned to the Major Fraud Division of the Special Crimes Bureau where she specialized in the prosecution of white collar crime and identity theft.
Ms. Cabaniss has been very innovative in addressing community crime problems. She and the Crime Stoppers organization were instrumental in the creation of a television news segment titled “The Wheel of Justice.” Each night on a local news telecast, the Wheel profiles a wanted felon and asks the community for tips. Ms. Cabaniss and local law enforcement officers are interviewed for the stories. The “Wheel of Justice” has been extremely successful, and to date, over 115 felons have been arrested and taken off Houston streets because of this telecast.
As a result of Crime Stoppers’ Safe Child Initiative, more than 150 felons who were wanted for crimes against children were located, arrested, and brought to justice. In the next year, new campaigns are scheduled to be launched to reduce and prevent domestic violence and protect battered women and children. Additionally, Crime Stoppers tip lines were recently expanded to address human trafficking, and phone personnel received special training to identify and assist human trafficking victims. This is a first-of-its-kind effort in the country.