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Back to Archives | Back to January 2010 Contents 

2009 IACP Awards "Part 1"



Police Officer of the Year


The IACP and PARADE magazine join forces to recognize exemplary performance in police work. As one of the top law enforcement awards in the country, the Police Officer of the Year Award symbolizes the highest level of achievement among police officers. In addition, to the officer of the year, 12 other officers were selected for honorable-mention awards. Recipients are recognized during the IACP General Assembly, in PARADE magazine, and at an awards luncheon at the annual IACP conference. All sworn, full-time police officers below the rank of chief are eligible. Nominations may be made for exceptional achievement in any police endeavor, including extraordinary valor, crime prevention, investigative work, community relations, traffic safety, drug control and prevention, juvenile programs, and training efforts.


Left to right: Larry Smith, PARADE magazine;
Officer Pedro Garcia III, San Antonio, Texas, Police
Department; Captain James Flavin, San Antonio,
Texas, Police Department; and Mark Marshall, IACP
second vice president

Quick thinking and daring action by San Antonio, Texas, Police Officer Pedro Garcia saved the lives of two badly wounded fellow officers in a shootout with a gunman firing at them with an AK-47 assault rifle from a Southside residence in September 2008. First, Officer Garcia lay down a covering fire from the backyard of the two-story structure, forcing the assailant to take cover, while other officers dragged the wounded man to safety. Garcia then charged across an open space, exposing himself to gunfire, to reach a vulnerable officer who had been shot in the back. Officer Garcia threw the wounded officer over his shoulder and carried her to safety.

For his daring action, the 33-year-old father of two has been named 2009 Police Officer of the Year by the IACP and PARADE.

In addition, 12 officers received honorable mentions at the Police Service Awards luncheon: Patrol Officer James Simone, Cleveland, Ohio, Division of Police; Officer Stephen T. Grieser, Dublin, Georgia, Police Department; Trooper Kurt Johnson, Virginia State Police; Keith Bishop, Drug Enforcement Administration; Officer Larry Marrero, Miami Beach, Florida, Police Department; Corporal Jeffrey D. Shriner, New Castle, Delaware, Police Department; Detective John Hamlett, Greenville, South Carolina, Police Department; Officer Richard Birch and Agent David Weeks, West Palm Beach, Florida, Police Department; Special Agent Marvin F. Burgos, U.S. Agency for International Development, Office of Inspector General; and Detective Karla F. Heine and Sergeant Justin Barlow, Columbia, Illinois, Police Department.

For more information about the IACP/PARADE Police Officer of the Year Award, visit the awards section of the IACP Web site, www.theiacp.org, or contact Meredith Mays at the IACP, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-2357; mays@theiacp.org.


IACP/Motorola Webber Seavey Award: Quality in Law Enforcement

Jointly sponsored by the IACP and Motorola, the Webber Seavey Award is presented annually to agencies worldwide in recognition of promoting a standard of excellence that exemplifies the law enforcement profession’s contribution and dedication to the quality of life in local communities. This program helps law enforcement agencies worldwide and the communities they serve by redefining the concept of law enforcement and how it is routinely performed. The award is named for Webber S. Seavey, the IACP’s first president.

The program annually honors achievements in one or more of the following goals:

  • Continually improving services to the community

  • Strengthening police relations and promoting community participation

  • Effectively using resources

  • Enhancing communications within and cooperation among agencies

  • Developing creative and innovative approaches that promote excellence in law enforcement


Left to right: Assistant Chief of Police David McCoy,
Richmond, Virginia, Police Department; Chief of
Police Bryan Norwood, Richmond, Virginia, Police
Department; Captain Harvey Powers, Richmond,
Virginia, Police Department; Albert Stokes, grants
manager, Richmond, Virginia, Police Department;
Esther Welch Anderson, director, Gang Reduction
and Intervention Program, Virginia Attorney General’s
Office; Chief Russell B. Laine, IACP president;
and Larry Mabry, vice president, Motorola

Richmond, Virginia, Police Department
GRIP—Gang Reduction and Intervention Program

This collaborative partnership focuses on reducing gang crime and violence in a seven-square mile targeted area of South Richmond. The initiative uses a five-prong approach: primary prevention, secondary prevention, intervention, suppression, and reentry. Programs are holistically designed to address the full range of personal, family, and community factors that contribute to high levels of juvenile delinquency and gang activity. The project provides the community, and specifically youths and young adults, with a positive alternative to gangs. Since its inception, there has been a dramatic reduction in homicides.


Left to right: Chief Russell B. Laine, IACP president;
Larry Mabry, vice president, Motorola; Inspector
Bryan Schafer, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Police
Department; and Captain Isaac DeLugo III, Minneapolis,
Minnesota, Police Department

Minneapolis, Minnesota, Police Department
Juvenile-Focused Policing: A Collaboration to Reduce Crime

When the Juvenile Unit was eliminated due to budgetary shortfalls, youth crime rates climbed at an alarming rate in just three years. The police department took decisive action by reinstating the unit to innovatively reduce juvenile crime. Working with community partners and other law enforcement agencies, the holistic collaboration drove change by serving as a one-stop shop for intelligence gathering, investigations, public school security, and booking and fingerprinting as well as maintaining a juvenile history database. Since inception, Part I crimes have decreased 33 percent, and juvenile crime suspects in Part I crimes have dropped 30 percent.


Left to right: Larry Mabry, Motorola; Chief Russell B.
Laine, IACP president; Commissioner Julian Fantino,
Ontario Provincial Police; and Deputy Commissioner
Larry Beechy, Ontario Provincial Police.

Ontario Provincial Police, Canada
Provincial Traffic Safety Program

During the last 10 years, an average of 489 people died annually in motor vehicle accidents on provincial highways. Correspondingly, 33 people were killed on waterways, 23 in motorized snow vehicles, and 12 on all-terrain vehicles. A detailed analysis on causal factors of fatal and serious injury collisions enabled the program to mobilize officers at every level for the sole purpose of saving lives and preventing injuries. The traffic safety program focus is impaired driving, lack of occupant restraint, and aggressive driving. Core components include high visibility, an intelligence-led approach, and a return to proven safety principles. Since implementation, the province has the lowest number of traffic fatalities in 80 years, and the societal savings of this reduction is estimated in the billions of dollars.

2010 applications due: April 30, 2010

For more information about the IACP/Motorola Webber Seavey Award: Quality in Law Enforcement, visit the awards section of the IACP Web site, www.theiacp.org, or contact Meredith Mays at the IACP, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-2357; mays@theiacp.org.


IACP Civil Rights Award

The IACP Civil Rights Award, sponsored jointly by Fechheimer Brothers Company and V. H. Blackinton & Company, recognizes outstanding law enforcement achievements in protecting civil and human rights. These activities range from solidly professional criminal investigations of civil rights violations and hate crimes to innovative police community outreach programs that serve vulnerable and disenfranchised populations. The award underscores a fact too often overlooked: that law enforcement professionals are among the primary guarantors of civil, human, and constitutional rights in democratic societies.

IACP Civil Rights Awards are submitted under the following categories:

  • Single-Agency Program or Project Award

  • Multi-Agency Team Award

  • Individual Achievement Award

  • International Human Rights Award


Left to right: Chief Russell B. Laine, IACP president;
FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Daniel McMullen;
Deputy Superintendent William Gross, Boston
Police Department; Special Agent-in-Charge James
Cavanaugh, ATF, Nashville, Tennessee, Field Office;
Chief Scott Bechthold, Brooklyn Center, Minnesota,
Police Department; Lieutenant Mark Bruley, Brooklyn
Park, Minnesota, Police Department; Chief Craig
Reid, City of Hopkins, Minnesota, Police Department;
and Deputy Chief Todd Sandell, City of Richfield,
Minnesota, Police Department

Single-Agency Program or Project Award: City of Westbrook, Maine, Police Department
Foreign Exchange and Civil Rights Program/ Human Relations Committee

The Westbrook, Maine, Police Department received the 2009 Single-Agency Program Award for its entire range of civil rights efforts, including its Foreign Exchange and Civil Rights Program and Human Relations Committee. The cornerstone of the program is the foreign exchange component, whereby an officer lives and works in a foreign law enforcement setting for two weeks and then the department invites the foreign law enforcement host to return to Westbrook for a similar period of time. Additionally, the program trains its sworn personnel on cultural diversity, develops cultural liaison volunteers from the community, and provides multilingual informational brochures and maps to the community. The department’s Human Relations Committee’s mission is to promote civil rights, personal dignity, and positive relationships between all residents of and visitors to Westbrook. Members of the committee represent the countries of Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Congo, Ukraine, Russia, Mexico, and the Philippines. The committee includes members from the business community, clergy, city and state legislatures, and citizens at large.


From left to right: Chief Craig Reid, City of Hopkins,
Minnesota, Police Department; Chief Scott Bechthold,
Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, Police Department;
Lieutenant Mark Bruley, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota,
Police Department; and Deputy Chief Todd Sandell,
City of Richfield, Minnesota, Police Department

Multi-Agency Team Award
Joint Community Police Partnership

The 2009 Multi-Agency Team Award was conferred to the Joint Community Police Partnership program in Hennepin County, Minnesota. To address the growing number of immigrants in the county and the need for respect for diversity, the Hennepin County board created the Joint Community Police Partnership (JCPP) in the cities of Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park in 2005. The program was expanded in 2007 with the inclusion of the city of Richfield and in 2008 with the city of Hopkins. The goal of the JCPP is to create cooperative relationships between the law enforcement departments and their diverse communities. The major components of the program include the recruitment and hiring of police cadets of diverse backgrounds, advanced training of officers including daily roll calls on key diversity topics and language classes, formation of a Multicultural Advisory Committee, embedded community liaisons, and training for community leaders. More than 200 police officers and 6,000 community members in the four cities have participated in various JCPP training activities. Over 80 percent of community residents, as self-reported through pre- and post-event questionnaires, experienced a better understanding of police and less fear of police from their involvement in JCPP trainings and events.

Individual Achievement Award: James Cavanaugh, ATF, Nashville Field Office

James Cavanaugh, special agent in charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Nashville, Tennessee, Field Office was recognized for his commitment, leadership, and contribution to the law enforcement profession in the area of civil rights, specifically in the investigations of hate crimes. Throughout his career, Cavanaugh has dedicated his work and leadership to investigating some of the most violent and heinous hate crimes in the south. In the 1990s, Cavanaugh investigated more than 50 church fires in Alabama and Mississippi, which precipitated the Church Arson Act. At the command level and throughout his career Cavanaugh has been a champion of law enforcement’s key role in civil rights.


ICE Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Tracy
Cormier; ICE Special Agent Miguel Palomino; FBI
Special Agent Tricia Whitehill; and FBI Special Agent-in-
Charge Daniel McMullen

International Human Rights Award: Los Angeles Metropolitan Human Trafficking Task Force (LAMHTTF)
Vasquez-Valenzuela Sex Trafficking Organization Investigation

The 2009 International Human Rights Award was presented to the Los Angeles Metropolitan Human Trafficking Task Force (LAMHTTF) for its exemplary performance in the investigation and highly successful prosecution of the Vasquez-Valenzuela crime family. The family conspired to commit egregious acts of forced prostitution by victimizing young women and minors who were smuggled into the U.S. from Guatemala. This case was one of the largest and most complex sex trafficking cases of its kind successfully tried in the United States. The arrests and dismantlement of this organization led to the reuniting of the victims with their families in Guatemala. The LAMHTTF comprises Assistant United States Attorneys from the Central District of California Cheryl Murphy, Curtis Kin, Tony Lewis, and Sarah Heidel; Department of Justice attorneys Andrew Kline and Cyra O’Daniel; Paralegal Specialist Connie Lee; FBI Special Agents Tricia Whitehill and Valerie Venegas; ICE Special Agent Miguel Palomino; and DOL-OIG Special Agent Jesus Quezada. The Vasquez-Valenzuela investigation provided a solid model for working together to combat human trafficking. Law enforcement gained directly from the Vasquez-Valenzuela case through the increased awareness in the community and a means to reach out and encourage community members (who are often the only sources for reporting these otherwise undetected and unreported crimes) to come forward with the assurance that law enforcement would, in fact, act upon their tips.

2010 applications due: March 26, 2010

For more information about the IACP Civil Rights Award, visit the awards section of the IACP Web site, www.theiacp.org, or contact Mark E. Lomax at the IACP, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-2357; by phone at 1-800-THE-IACP, extension 234; or via e-mail at lomax@theiacp.org.


Indian Country Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for the United States, First Nations or Aboriginal Law Enforcement Officers

The award is presented to an officer serving in Indian Country who has shown either exceptional valor or provided outstanding, exceptional service to Native peoples.


Left to right: Sergeant Jeff Simpkins, Ontario
Provincial Police, Aboriginal Policing Bureau; Jim
Molash: chair, IACP Indian Country Law Enforcement
Section’s Officer of the Year Committee, and
security manager, Prairie Knights Casino, Standing
Rock Sioux Tribe

Sergeant Jeff Simpkins was honored for his role in the development and implementation of the North of 50 Cops and KIDS program. This weeklong program, held in Pikangikum First Nation, is a benchmark in proactive initiatives for at-risk Aboriginal youth in Canada. His efforts made positive gains in children and youth who were effected by depression, suicide, and hopelessness as his program supported their growth into future leaders with pride in themselves and their communities.

2010 applications due: August 15, 2010

For more information about the Indian Country Officer of the Year Award, visit the awards section of the IACP Web site, www.theiacp.org, or contact Elaine Deck at the IACP, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-2357; by phone at 1-800-THE-IACP, extension 843 or via e-mail at decke@theiacp.org.


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From The Police Chief, vol. LXXVII, no. 1, January 2010. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.








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