20th Anniversary Photo Contest – August Winner

Officer Mandi Brunner

The COPS Office is pleased to feature the August 2015 winner of the Community Policing in Action Photo Contest—the Lansing Police Department. Their winning photo features Officer Mandi Brunner with participants at the Michigan Special Olympics games in 2014.

The Lansing Police Department (LPD) has been an innovator in policing for the past 122 years, having been one of the first motorized police departments in the country through its partnership with Oldsmobile. Today, the LPD prides itself on its core values, which are based in community policing. Lansing Police Chief Michael Yankowski proudly states that “the LPD embraces a community-based, problem-oriented, data-driven policing strategy that emphasizes the use of problem-solving and community policing techniques and a reliance on data to identify threats, measure the results of our interventions, and hold ourselves accountable to each other and to our community.” 1

Chief Yankowski, who has been with the LPD since 1994 and chief since April 2013, stresses the importance of community policing in every aspect of his work. “Community policing is paramount to policing in a professional manner. We apply our mission statement to everything we do in our department,” he said. “The two pillars are police legitimacy and community engagement. There is so much more to policing than making arrests. Building trust is so important.”

As part of the LPD’s community policing efforts, Lansing police officers participate in numerous programs such as Shop with a Cop, which provides 100 disadvantaged children with $100 to shop for Christmas; Old Newsboys, which has raised money for the past 97 years for shoes, boots, and socks for school-aged children; and the Mobile Food Pantry, which distributes food to the homeless and others in need of financial assistance. In addition, the department sponsors a program called GREAT (Gang Resistance Education and Training) for 4th through 6th graders. The program not only encourages gang resistance but also exposes participants to the law enforcement profession and inspires many of them to join the Lansing Police Explorers Post #911, which is part of the Boy Scouts of America Exploring division and overseen by Lansing police officers.2

“We are guardians of the city . . . our job is to engage the public,” said Chief Yankowski. “How can we make a positive influence on a citizen or a youth every day?”

One particularly important community event for the LPD is the Michigan Special Olympics. For the past 20 years, Lansing officers have participated in the events leading up to the games to help raise funds for disabled athletes. The Law Enforcement Torch Run, the polar plunge, and the local dodgeball tournament have been extremely successful fundraising opportunities for the Department. “Last year we raised close to $45,000 for the games,” said Chief Yankowski.

In this month’s winning photo, Officer Mandi Brunner poses with athletes at the 2014 Special Olympics, many of whom would not have attended without support from the LPD. The three-day event helps the LPD raise awareness for disabled and disadvantaged communities in addition to helping showcase some of the community policing efforts of the LPD.

“Most of the work we do is positive, and people don’t get to see it,” said Chief Yankowski. “Thank you for the opportunity to share our story.”

The COPS Office congratulates the Lansing Police Department for being one of the 12 winners of the COPS Office Community Policing in Action Photo Contest and for its commitment to community policing.

Written with contributions from Chief Michael Yankowski. Photo courtesy of the Lansing Police Department.

Najla Haywood
Special Contributor
The COPS Office


1 “Welcome to the Lansing Police Department,” City of Lansing, accessed July 7, 2015, http://www.lansingmi.gov/police.
2 “Lansing Police Explorer Post #911,” City of Lansing, accessed July 9, 2015, http://www.lansingmi.gov/lansingpoliceexplorer.

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