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The L. Anthony Sutin Civic Imagination Award

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The L. Anthony Sutin Civic Imagination Award

The L. Anthony Sutin Civic Imagination Award Announcement

The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) has announced a call for nominations for the 2014 L. Anthony Sutin Civic Imagination Award. The Sutin Civic Imagination Award recognizes the efforts of collaborative partnerships within the community. This honor is bestowed upon a team of law enforcement and community members whose innovative civic interaction has 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. The award may be given to a team of two or more individuals—at least one law enforcement officer and one community member—involved in a high-impact collaboration that may involve a single project or pattern of transformative projects that best exemplifies community policing.

An ideal nominee team:

The L. Anthony Sutin Civic Imagination Award is named in memory of Tony Sutin, who served as a founder and deputy director of the COPS Office from its creation in 1994 until 1996 when he became the principal deputy to the associate attorney general of the United States. He then served as acting assistant attorney general for legislative affairs before joining the faculty of the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia, in 1999. He quickly became dean and served in this capacity until his untimely death on January 16, 2002. A distinguished graduate of Harvard Law School and former partner of the law firm Hogan & Hartson in Washington, D.C., Tony was widely known and respected for his brilliant intellect, quiet wit, and tremendous commitment to service and community. It is with great admiration and respect for Tony’s many contributions to the COPS Office and the principles of community policing that the COPS Office names this award in his memory.

A nomination must include a narrative encompassing the above four award criteria, and a maximum of two supporting letters. All narratives are limited to a five-page document in 12-point Times New Roman font. Only submissions written in a word processing package such as Microsoft Word or WordPerfect or submitted as an Adobe file will be accepted. Click here for additional information on the nomination criteria.

A nomination must include the attached nomination form, a narrative encompassing the above four award criteria, and a maximum of two supporting letters.

The deadline to submit a nomination is June 12, 2014, at 5:00 p.m. EST. Nominations will not be considered if received after 5:00 p.m. EST. All nominations must be sent via e-mail to SutinAward@usdoj.gov or via fax to 202.616.8658 (ATTN: Nazmia Alqadi). 

Direct all general inquiries to Nazmia Alqadi at SutinAward@usdoj.gov.

Past Winners

2013 – Chief Dwight E. Henninger, Vail (CO) Police Department, and Coordinator Megan McGee Bonta, Catholic Charities

Together, Chief of Police Henninger and Coordinator Bonta honored the community through their vision, courage, transformative efforts, and civic imagination. They have worked selflessly and with great dedication for the last three years on growing the Eagle County Law Enforcement Immigration Advisory Initiative, which they launched in 2009. Henninger and Bonta also promoted the formation of the Eagle County Law Enforcement Immigrant Advisory Committee (LEIAC).

The LEIAC program provides case management and referral services, mediation assistance, and civic workshops and advocates on the immigrant’s behalf to ensure the protection of their rights. The committee includes representatives from each local law enforcement agency collaborating with immigrant advocates who oversee, coordinate, and contribute to the Eagle County LEIAC.

Overall, Henninger and Bonta initiated—and still maintain—an innovative program for a complicated and important topic. They created a strong foundation of partnerships for a broad-based coalition, with strong buy-in from all levels of law enforcement. This initiative has established an ongoing venue for the community and is being replicated by other communities.

2012 – Former-Chief James Fealy, High Point (NC) Police Department, and President Gretta Bush, High Point Community Against Violence

In 2003, then-Chief of Police James Fealy met with David Kennedy, a professor with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, to discuss his theory of shutting down drug markets. The first chief to hear Kennedy’s idea, Fealy took a chance and formed a collaboration to implement the strategy. Together with Gretta Bush, president of High Point Community Against Violence, they implemented what would become known as the High Point Drug Market Intervention (DMI) Strategy, a police-community partnership and focused deterrent strategy that addresses violent crime and illicit drug dealing. DMI effectively collapsed overt drug markets, dramatically reduced violent crime associated with those markets, and required few arrests. The strategy has also been credited with building police-community trust, racial reconciliation, and community transformation.

The measurable results of this strategy are just as impressive. High Point experienced a 34 percent reduction in violent crime since 2003. Some neighborhoods, such as the West End, saw violent crime fall by as much as 57 percent. These numbers have been sustained for over 7 years. Recently, High Point reported just three homicides a year for a population of roughly 104,000 citizens. Fealy retired in February 29, 2012, after the partnership he formed closed five drug markets in High Point.

The winning element of this project was the collaboration between Fealy and the community. Fealy and Bush demonstrated exceptional community policing and leadership by not only bringing community members together to address these problems but also allowing residents to have a role in implementing a solution. Public meetings were held to share police and community narratives, reconcile differences, and share information about the strategy. DMI required significant courage and trust on the part of both Fealy and the community and solidified the police-community partnership in High Point. This core community policing philosophy has been applied to other public safety programs and has been replicated by numerous jurisdictions around the country.

2011 – Lieutenant Dean Richard Isabella, Providence (RI) Police Department, and Executive Director Frank Shea, Olneyville Housing Corporation

Lieutenant Dean Richard Isabella has come to know the residents and youth of Olneyville and has actively engaged other partners in the Olneyville housing project. Between 2002 and 2007, police calls for service dropped 85.6 percent in the area surrounding the park and stayed low throughout 2010, without crime displacement. After an unsettling fire in March 2011, Isabella brought the Providence Police Chief, Olneyville Housing Corporation, and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation together to create a foreclosure response project. Isabella has worked with these organizations to develop a number of strategies to decrease the impact of a distressed economy by addressing vacant and unmaintained nuisance properties. Executive Director Frank Shea, Olneyville Housing Corporation, integrated both corporations’ experience with renovating and developing housing opportunities for low-income residents with Isabella’s vision to create an innovative, effective way to transform the community’s quality of life and improve safety. Although a lot of individuals are needed to revitalize a neighborhood, Isabella and Shea created an environment in which to foster this opportunity.


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