2004 IACP Civil Rights Award Winners

Each year, a law enforcement agency or individual is recognized by the IACP Civil Rights Award for exceptional innovation in the areas of investigation, education, prevention, and enforcement. In 2004 IACP Civil Rights Awards were made to the following individuals and departments:

In the area of Education/Prevention

Chief H. Lloyd Perkins, Camillus, New York, Police Department

Under the direction of Chief H. Lloyd Perkins, the Camillus Police Department started an outreach program called “Building Community Bridges” approximately three years ago. The program was intended to improve access to the Camillus Police Department for minority groups and other segments of the population that felt their needs may not be as recognized as other, more entrenched, portions of the Central New York Community.

In a bold and proactive effort, Chief Perkins and his department invited representatives of diverse groups directly into department planning sessions, where they were given an excellent opportunity to have their concerns heard. Organizations such as the Onondaga Commission on Human Rights, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Inter-Religious Council of Central New York have attended these meetings. Additionally, the town of Camillus elected officials, the Spanish Action League of Syracuse, and the Syracuse Model Neighborhood Facility have participated in the meetings, as well.

By bringing all segments of the community together; the residential population, those visiting for the purposes of shopping, and the commuting workforce segments, this effort is assisting everyone in building a law enforcement agency of which the whole community is proud. We commend Chief Perkins’ and the Camillus Police Department’s efforts in creating the program “Building Community Bridges.”

In the area of Investigation

Senior Lead Officer Melody Hainline, Los Angeles, CA, Police Department

Within a three-month period, approximately 20 shootings and assaults (including a murder) had occurred in the Normandale Park area. Ugly anti-Black graffiti was observed at 25 locations: garages, sidewalks, businesses, and walls. In addition, gunfire was aimed at black victims. This hate-motivated activity also began to spill over in the local junior and senior high schools.

Senior Lead Officer Melody Hainline was given the daunting assignment to open up lines of communication and bring about change in the affected neighborhoods of the Normandale Park. Senior Lead Officer Hainline recognized the need for an immediate response and intervention to prevent further escalation of hate motivated violence in the community. She contacted representatives from the Los Angeles City Human Relations Office and the United States Department of Justice Community Relations Services, as well as members of the community. A Hate Crimes Prevention Task Force was established to focus on improving the quality of life of the citizens of the community. A survey was developed which focused on quality of life issues and more than 220 community members responded to the survey, identifying their concerns.

As a result of the survey findings, Senior Lead Officer Hainline employed the use of patrol units, gang officers, and bicycle teams to saturate the area. A multi-agency taskforce was formed to assist in identification and apprehension of parole violators, and the LAPD Harbor area was identified as a “Weed and Seed” site. Almost a year has passed since the initiative began and violent crime has taken a sharp downturn by approximately 38%, while race related gang violence has diminished significantly in the area. Senior Lead Officer Hainline’s efforts went well beyond the call of duty and we commend her on her sense of duty and service to human kind.

In the area of Prevention

Tallahassee, Florida, Police Department

Prior to being appointed to the position of chief of police of the Tallahassee Police Department, Chief Walter McNeil spent numerous hours working with youth and minority groups throughout the city. After realizing that the majority of youth and minority groups share a common distrust regarding law enforcement, Chief McNeil focused on ways to strengthen faith and trust in law enforcement within the minority community.

The first phase of Minority and Youth Community Outreach Program (MYCOP) was to open a satellite office for internal affairs in a predominately minority community. At this office, people are able to file a complaint or give testimony without having to come into the police department. By using the satellite office, the perceived stigma of going into police headquarters can be avoided. If victims and witnesses are less anxious and apprehensive concerning their environment, a more accurate account of events can be given.

After it became apparent that the project was a success, the possibility of a second office partnered with the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in a different section of the city was explored. By providing another venue for citizens’ feedback, both positive and negative, the communication between the department and citizens has improved. In addition to the satellite offices, Chief McNeil implemented a hotline devoted solely to citizen complaints.

Another program adopted by the Tallahassee Police Department is Drug Education for Youth (DEFY). DEFY is a prevention program for kids ages 9-12, giving them the tools needed to resist drugs, gangs, and alcohol. Greater interaction with citizens provides the department with the feedback and constructive criticism necessary to improve services and solidify the trust of minority and youth communities. The above programs enable the Tallahassee Police Department to more effectively provide public safety service to its citizens.