Successful Police Work Gets International Recognition
Three Police Agencies Receive International Association of Chiefs of Police, Motorola Webber Seavey Award for 2005
MIAMI -- 26 Sept. 2005 – How do law enforcement agencies become successful in today’s high-tension environment? Three U.S. police departments have shown that innovative use of technology, unrelenting enforcement of existing laws and codes and a holistic approach to youth crime get results.
This year the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and Motorola are recognizing the police departments of Miami-Dade, Fla.; New Rochelle, N.Y.; and West Des Moines, Iowa, for model programs that solve problems and thereby improve communities. The departments are the top winners in the 13th annual IACP/Motorola Webber Seavey Award for Quality in Law Enforcement.
The award, named for the first IACP president, is presented annually to agencies and departments worldwide in recognition for promoting a standard of excellence that epitomizes law enforcement’s contribution and dedication to the quality of life in local communities. A total of 135 law enforcement agencies from around the world submitted their crime-fighting programs for recognition. A panel of eight law officials and previous winners selected the top three programs, as well as seven finalists and 15 semi-finalists.
“The IACP/Motorola Webber Seavey Award gives us an opportunity to recognize innovative and effective programs in law enforcement agencies all over the world. These successful programs, and the people who implement them, illustrate the exemplary quality that is possible in our profession" said IACP President Joseph Estey, who is chief of the Hartford Police Department in White River Junction, Vt.
"Motorola is proud to co-sponsor the IACP/Motorola Webber Seavey Award program as a catalyst for the exchange of ideas and proven law enforcement strategies among agencies and departments worldwide,’’ said Motorola’s Jim Sarallo, Senior Vice President, Americas, Government & Enterprise Mobility Solutions.
In the early 1990s, the Miami police department began collecting DNA samples from offenders convicted of a small number of violent crimes. As the decade continued, legislators widened the scope of crimes that required convicts to submit DNA samples in order to give investigators a database against which to search new crime evidence. In 2004, officials learned the offender in a juvenile rape case, who already had a violent crime conviction, had not submitted a DNA sample during his prison term. Law enforcement officials then found that alarming numbers of other convicts had “fallen through the cracks,’’ and formed a cold case squad to go back to collect DNA samples from violent criminals who had been released from prison or who were eligible for release.
The “Convicted Offender DNA Non-Compliance Clearinghouse/Cold Case Squad” has reviewed nearly 14,000 cases, and has collected more than 500 DNA swabs, which has resulted in the closure of 34 cases. This multi-jurisdictional program has improved information sharing among local law enforcement agencies and is expected to have a deterrent effect on convicts after their release from prison. “We’ll know who they are once they have been in the system,’’ said Sgt. Cecile Alvarez, one of the three members of the squad.
While the community of New Rochelle, N.Y., a suburb of New York City, was proud of the recent revitalization of its downtown with high-end residential and commercial development, by 2002 the police were dealing with an exorbitant increase in crime associated with the opening of several nightclubs. The “straw that broke the camel’s back” occurred when five nightclub patrons were stabbed in one night. The city police department partnered with the Chamber of Commerce, federal Drug Enforcement Administration, Westchester County District Attorney and an array of local agencies to crack down on building code violations, as well as drug, alcohol and gambling violations. Using laws already in force as well as a “Nuisance Reform Act,’’ which gave officials more power to temporarily close sites, the city held club owners accountable by requiring them to hire and train security staff, pay for extra police patrols as well as clean up vandalism and littering.
Within about two years, five of the nightclubs have closed. “This really put the onus on club owners,’’ said Lt. Cosmo Costa of the New Rochelle department. He said the entertainment venues currently operating have generated very little crime, which means, “We sent a message out to the other clubs.’’
As the suburb of West Des Moines, Iowa, saw a burst in population in the ’90s, it had its share of growing pains. Among them was an increase in juvenile crime and alcohol/drug use among teenagers. In conjunction with schools and community groups, the police created the Youth Justice Initiative, which provides support and mentoring to youth and diverts them from the criminal justice system when possible.
The linchpin of the effort is the Youth Justice Conference, which brings the offender, family members, crime victims, school staff and community members together to examine the situation leading up to the crime and create an accountability plan for the youth.
The agreed-upon consequences are often directly related to the offense. Claudia Henning, the program’s administrator, said youth who have stolen may be required to work in a food pantry or donated clothing facility, and one group of older teens involved in a sizable burglary worked on a Habitat for Humanity house as restitution. The initiative has given youth a chance to “put things right,’’ which was not always possible in the traditional justice system, Henning said. Since the conferences began, fewer than 10 percent of the participants have committed another offense during the program or the year after completion.
The Webber Seavey Award recipients will be recognized today in Miami during the 112th annual IACP Conference.
About the IACP
Founded in 1893, the International Association of Chiefs of Police is the world’s oldest and largest association of law enforcement executives with more than 19,000 members in nearly 100 countries.
Motorola is a Fortune 100 global communications leader that provides seamless mobility products and solutions across broadband, embedded systems and wireless networks. In your home, auto, workplace and all spaces in between, seamless mobility means you can reach the people, things and information you need, anywhere, anytime. Seamless mobility harnesses the power of technology convergence and enables smarter, faster, cost-effective and flexible communication. Motorola had sales of US $31.3 billion in 2004. For more information: www.motorola.com.
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