Giving a voice to those that don’t have one: Running Crimeline

Barb Bergin is the woman behind the Central Florida tip hotline that’s been getting results for decades

Not all heroes are out on the streets; One local hero is protecting innocent people and putting crooks behind bars. But she’s not a police officer, she runs the Central Florida Crimeline.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Not all heroes are out on the streets; One local hero is protecting innocent people and putting crooks behind bars. But she’s not a police officer, she runs the Central Florida Crimeline.

You’ve probably heard the number our anchors say all the time here at News 6-- 1-800-423-TIPS.

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Barb Bergin runs Crimeline hotline (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

But the driving force behind the organization is Barb Bergin.

Crimeline is the tip line that gets results for crimes in Central Florida because it regularly and consistently puts the bad guys in jail, protects future would-be victims and brings peace to victims.

“A lot of our victims, they don’t have a voice, especially in these homicides and stuff,” said Bergin. “If you think about these families, one day, life’s normal and the next day, it’s turned upside down. So whatever we can do to help.”

Bergin was a natural choice to take over the Central Florida Crimeline in 2009-- for 26 years she worked at the Orlando Police Department, having started in 1983.

“Yeah, I’ve been pretty lucky,” said Bergin. “Val Demings was my chief when I retired.”

Barb Bergin with then-Orlando Police Chief Val Demings (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Several of those years as a detective, on the receiving end of the tips that Crimeline generates.

“I think it’s really cool, you get a call from a detective who says, ‘I could not have solved this case without the tip,’” said Bergin.

Now as the executive director, she’s grown Crimeline into one of the most successful, and familiar, non-profit tip-taking agencies in North America-- bringing in as many tips as Toronto, which is twice the population of Central Florida.

“We do what we say we’re going to do, which is very important,” said Bergin. “So our community, it’s kind of fun, I get to speak at senior citizen places or our high schools or middle schools, the kids, and everyone, knows our phone number, because I can tell you our media says it over and over again, call 1-800-423-TIPS.”

And that’s why she speaks selflessly, all over Central Florida...

“I’ve been on call for 30 years,” said Bergin. “Yeah, 30 years. It’s just what I do, the phone rings in the middle of the night and you take care of the problem.”

And it’s why she answers the phone at all hours.

“It’s part of the job,” said Bergin. “At the end of the day, we need to be out among the public or making them aware of what we do and why we do it. I’m not shy, you know.”

Because 800 tips a months come in through the 1800-423-TIPS hotline that Bergin helped make a household phrase in Central Florida.

“What I would tell people who make the tips is ‘thank you,’” Bergin said. “Because you are part of making a difference here in Central Florida.”


About the Authors:

Erik von Ancken anchors and reports for WKMG-TV News 6 (CBS) in Orlando and is a two-time Emmy award-winning journalist in the prestigious and coveted "On-Camera Talent" categories for both anchoring and reporting. Erik joined the News 6 News Team in 2003 days after the tragic loss of space shuttle Columbia.

Paul is a Florida native who graduated from the University of Central Florida. As a multimedia journalist, Paul enjoys profiling the people and places that make Central Florida unique.