For Immediate Release
September 17, 2015
CONTACT: Shannon Long
COLUMBIA HEIGHTS, MINNESOTA - The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) has announced a team from Columbia Heights, Minnesota as the winner of the 2015 L. Anthony Sutin Civic Imagination Award. Chief Scott Lewis Nadeau of the Columbia Heights Police Department and Superintendent Kathy L. Kelly of the Columbia Heights School District are the recipients of the 2015 award recognizing their efforts to meet the specific needs of the students in their community and to build trust between law enforcement and youth.
The Sutin Civic Imagination Award recognizes the efforts of collaborative partnerships within the community. This annual honor is bestowed upon a team of law enforcement and community members whose innovative civic interactions have transformed public safety in their community. Nominees are those actively engaged with the community in a multifaceted manner that has been sustained over time and has resulted in positive, observable public safety outcomes. An ideal nominee creates sustainable collaborations that are innovative, creative and transformative; displays civic leadership through problem solving and collaborative partnerships; and promotes public safety through dedication to the community policing philosophy.
“I applaud the outstanding efforts of Chief Scott Lewis Nadeau and Superintendent Kathy Kelly in improving police and youth relationships,” said COPS Office Director Ronald L. Davis. “Innovative programs like we have here in Columbia Heights and the positive interactions between police and youth will not only strengthen these relationships, but will also enhance public safety, reduce the school to prison pipeline, and create a positive learning environment for students. These efforts serve as a national model and could be easily replicated across the country.”
Working together, Chief Nadeau and Superintendent Kelly have instituted several different youth outreach programs designed to provide students with opportunities to interact with law enforcement and create a mutual and open dialogue. These different programs offer “open gym” events to create a safe haven and recreational activities for youth, “pizza with a cop” school lunches that allow for discussions in a positive environment, and regular opportunities for officers to read to primary school students to address issues such as bullying. Following the implementation of these various initiatives, youth arrests in Columbia Heights dropped to an all-time low of 106 arrests in 2014, with K-12 suspensions down by 130 percent.
The COPS Office, headed by Director Ronald Davis, is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. Since 1995, COPS has invested more than $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of more than 126,000 officers and provide a variety of knowledge resource products including publications, training, and technical assistance. For additional information about COPS Office, please visit www.cops.usdoj.gov.