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Back to Archives | Back to March 2009 Contents 

2008 IACP Community Policing Awards: Presented at the 115th Annual IACP Conference

Photos by Convention Photo by Joe Orlando

ince 1998, the IACP’s Community Policing Committee has recognized outstanding community policing initiatives undertaken by law enforcement agencies worldwide through the annual Community Policing Award, sponsored in 2008 by Tecton Architects, Incorporated, of Hartford, Connecticut, and Cisco Systems. The award identifies and rewards best practices in community policing by recognizing police organizations that use the power of partnerships to make local, national, and global communities safer from crime and terrorism. The winners and finalists provide a framework for improved police services on issues that are specific to individual communities but are also pertinent to all communities around the world.

The Community Policing Award is presented in five categories for law enforcement agencies that serve populations of varying sizes. Additionally, agencies that use community policing philosophies in the furtherance of homeland security initiatives are eligible for special homeland security recognition.

Left to right: Ronald C. Ruecker, 2007–2008 IACP
president; Chief Edward O’Bara, Highland Village,
Texas, Police Department

Agency Serving a Population of Fewer than 20,000: Highland Village, Texas, Police Department

After extensive planning, development, and implementation of a comprehensive community-oriented policing philosophy, the Highland Village Police Department (HVPD) struggled with getting its patrol officers to focus their activities on achieving the expectations of the agency. Officers said that they did not understand what they were supposed to do. In response, the department developed an innovative, easily adaptable, and cost-effective way to turn community policing from just a concept into reality. The “Value-Based Daily Activity Guide” is the HVPD’s most effective tool in transitioning the department from a primarily traditional, “order maintenance” style of policing in 2002 to a fully functional community-oriented policing model in 2008. This effective tool focuses the daily performance of patrol officers on activities that fully support and strengthen the policing expectations of the community.

Judges selected two finalists in this population category. The Ocean City, Maryland, Police Department was chosen for its Play It Safe Ocean City Project, working with activities for recently graduated high school seniors; and the Vail, Colorado, Police Department was chosen for its Preserving Life and Property Initiative during holiday and community celebrations.

Left to right: Chief John Luse, Saint Louis Park,
Minnesota, Police Department; President Ruecker;
and Lieutenant Lori Dreier, Saint Louis Park Police

Agency Serving a Population of 20,001 to 50,000: Saint Louis Park, Minnesota, Police Department

Responding to resident complaints in 2007 regarding graffiti both in public places and on private property, Saint Louis Park police personnel worked with several city departments and community stakeholders to develop a system that identified a baseline of data for reporting, documenting, and tracking graffiti. The three-pronged approach involved assessing the problem; identifying graffiti responsibilities and coordinating completion by stakeholders; and developing and conducting a massive public education campaign involving a variety of media sources (including a graffiti tip line) to publicize a message about mandatory reporting and abatement. Expanding beyond community borders, police facilitated the establishment of a West Metro Graffiti Group now consisting of nine cities. City staff developed a Web-based graffiti database called GraffitiNet as an avenue to share graffiti intelligence quickly and visually. All member agencies can now load their data into the system and use the mapping feature to view similar graffiti tags in other cities, leading to the aggregation of graffiti cases for prosecution. In 2008, the department saw an overall 39 percent reduction in reported graffiti incidents.

Judges selected the Albert Lea, Minnesota, Police Department as a finalist in this population category for its efforts in implementing the philosophy of community-oriented policing and in transforming itself to enable that implementation.

Left to right: Gordon Margulies, community impact
officer, South Area; Charles Celano, South Area Commander;
Penni Foley, administrative secretary; Lieutenant
Joseph Stickles, special operations; Chief Scott
M. Jordan; President Ruecker; Captain Joseph Garcia,
community policing; Lieutenant Steve Lewis, North
Area commander; Ruby Ortiz, community relations
officer, South Area; Khaya Breskin, community impact
officer, North Area; Marilyn Packer, community relations
officer, North Area

Agency Serving a Population of 50,001 to 100,000: Tustin, California, Police Department

A certain two-block section of the city of Tustin had built a reputation as an area of high crime, gang infestation, and blighted conditions. Through a community governance model of policing that incorporates sound community policing methods of problem solving, the Tustin Police Department used a multifaceted approach to address the problem. Methods included a special enforcement team, a gang team, bilingual neighborhood watches, town hall meetings, clean-up days, block captain networks, new and innovative software to track crime trends, and the creation of a Neighborhood Improvement Task Force and a Tustin Against Graffiti task force. The results: gang members and drug dealers moved out of the area; residents are out walking on the streets; Uniform Crime Report Part I crimes dropped 27 percent; and crime in all categories dropped to its lowest numbers since 2000.

Judges selected the La Crosse, Wisconsin, Police Department as a finalist in this population category for its work with youth and the community in response to binge drinking and a high number of alcohol-related incidents among La Crosse youth.

Left to right: President Ruecker; Inspector Brian W. Nowlan,
in-house project officer, Office of Strategy Management,
Edmonton, Alberta, Police Service, Canada

Agency Serving a Population over 250,000: Edmonton, Alberta, Police Service

Street prostitution and collateral community deterioration spurred the Edmonton Police Service to develop a program whereby it could combine enforcement with intervention by strategically coordinating services to assist women in poverty and experiencing addictions that reinforce or contribute to prostitution and other high-risk behaviors. The methods the agency used offered a framework for a new way for organizations and the community to work with the police; share and distribute information about resources for people involved in prostitution; and build a climate of support, trust, and respect. Through evaluations conducted by the agency, it has determined that by incorporating intervention into routine enforcement practice, approximately 100 women have been removed from street prostitution, and despite a history of reported murders of street prostitutes, the agency reported that there have been no homicides of street prostitutes since the spring of 2005.

Judges selected two finalists in this population category. The Albuquerque, New Mexico, Police Department was chosen for its work with partnerships in forming the Albuquerque Retail Assets Protection Association; and the Toledo, Ohio, Police Department was chosen for its work attacking the serious problem of metal theft.

Special Homeland Security Recognition

In addition to Community Policing Award winners and finalists, two agencies were chosen as finalists for Special Homeland Security Recognition for using community policing principles in the protection of their citizens and communities. The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command–Computer Crime Investigative Unit of Fort Belvoir, Virginia, was chosen for its work in creating Virtual Community Policing to promote cybercrime awareness and prevention for the Army’s global community. The Singapore Police Force was chosen for its work with partnerships in creating Safety and Security Watch Groups to discuss a range of security-related issues in response to the unpredictable nature of global security threats and the growing tendency of potential terrorists to target “soft” installations such as public buildings and commercial establishments.

The IACP congratulates all Community Policing Award winners and finalists. By advancing community policing practices, they are ensuring safer communities for all. Information on how to be considered for the 2009 Community Policing Awards, sponsored by Cisco Systems, will soon be available on the IACP Web site. ?



From The Police Chief, vol. LXXVII, no. 3, March 2009. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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