Inaugural Attorney Generals Award for Distinguished Service in Community Policing

The inaugural Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Community Policing  was presented to 12 local and tribal nation officers from across the United States who demonstrated exceptional commitment to the principles of community policing in the jurisdictions they serve. The award ceremony was held on October 6, 2016, as a highlight of the inaugural Community Policing Week (#CommunityPolicing).  Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates, and COPS Office Director Ronald L. Davis presented awards and uniform medals to officers during the ceremony held at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Great Hall in Washington, D.C.

Nominations for the awards were made by local agencies and communitymembers, andtherecipientswere selected by a committee that included representatives from law enforcements organizations including the Fraternal Order of Police, the Major County Sheriff’s Association, the Police Executive Research Forum, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police as well as from DOJ components. The recipients demonstrated professional excellence in a wide range of work acrossthree categories of award: Criminal Investigations, Field Operations, and Innovations in Community Policing. Examples of work receiving the inaugural awards include investigation and arrest of sexual predators, crisis intervention team (CIT) partnerships to help homeless individuals, and development and collaboration with schools on youth-police dialogue and mediation. However, all the awardees worked to strengthen the trust and cooperation of law enforcement with community partners and citizens.

“Each of the officers . . . has demonstrated excellent service and dedication to professional, impartial and effective policing,” Attorney General Lynch remarked during the ceremony. “These individuals are having a transformational impact on their agencies . . . and the communities we serve across the country.”

Director Davis closed the ceremony by thanking the officers and their families for their dedication to the profession of policing. He noted that these officers are the only 12 in the country who have awards from the Attorney General for distinguished service in community policing.

Following the ceremony, the Attorney General hosted a reception for the officers, their families, and other guests. At the reception, the awardees had the opportunity to discuss their work in engaging various community partners and working with social services, schools, and faith groups to solve problems with the Attorney General. For example, Detective Greg Felton of the Glenn County (California) Sheriff’s Office works in a community of about 30,000 and provides his cell phone number to answer questions and provide support. Officers Andy Dobbins and Curt Vajgrt said that after their initial work with the Urbandale Middle School in Iowa, they found that the administrators, teachers, and students came to them with other issues and concerns. The officers provided information and mediation to support positive school outcomes.  All of the awardees discussed the importance of partnering with others who have similar ideas, whether to initiate a new project or strengthen relationships with other agencies and community members.

For more information about the Criminal Investigations, Field Operations, or Innovation in Community Policing categories of the awards, please visit the Class of 2016–2017 Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Community Policing. The recipients are as follows:

Criminal Investigation:

Detective Jessie Gonzales, Tohono O’odham Nation Police Department (Arizona)
Detective Adam Beha and Detective Joseph Milewczik, Chesapeake (Virginia) Police Department
Senior Police Officer Kimberly Miller, Houston (Texas) Police Department

Field Operations:

Detective Greg Felton, Glenn County (California) Sheriff’s Office
Officer Bennie Evans, Alexandria (Virginia) Police Department
Officer JoAnn Walker, San Francisco (California) Police Department

Innovations in Community Policing:

Officer Andy Dobbins and Officer Curt Vajgrt, Urbandale (Iowa) Police Department
Sergeant Audrey Mazzuca, Gainesville (Florida) Police Department
Officer Lawrence Gets and Officer Scott Clinger, Columbus (Ohio) Division of Police


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The Woodstock Police Department – Honoring a Local Hero | Overview of National Community Policing Week | Inaugural Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service in Community Policing | Engaging College Students in 21st Century Policing | 2016 L. Anthony Sutin Civic Imagination Award - Arlington PD & Arlington Independent SD | Coffee with a Cop: Five Years Later | An Assessment of the San Francisco Police Department | Are you on the Task Force Recommendations Implementation Map? | National Community Policing Week – Publications Release