2005-IACP-Civil-Rights-Award-Winners

Each year, law enforcement agencies or individuals are recognized by the IACP Civil Rights Award for exceptional innovation in the areas of investigation, education, prevention, and enforcement. In 2005, IACP Civil Rights Awards were made to the following individuals and departments:

In the area of Prevention - Award #1:

Agency: Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department
Name of Project/Program: Compliance Monitoring Team

In January 1999, Chief of Police Charles Ramsey and District of Columbia Mayor Anthony Williams asked the United States Department of Justice to review the Metropolitan Police Department's (MPD) practices as they related to police use of force. In March 2001, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) concluded its review, and later entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the District of Columbia and the Metropolitan Police Department on June 13, 2001. The Agreement built upon the work MPD started during the course of the review, and provided that an Independent Monitor would evaluate the implementation of the Agreement. When the balance of the reforms contained in the Agreement are implemented, the Metropolitan Police Department will be a model for the nation on how to uphold the rule of law while using force only when and to the extent necessary.

The MPD asked the DOJ to assist with reviewing its use of force policies. Since the MOA's inception, the CMT has monitored and implemented new policies, training, reporting tools and methods, and much more in order to meet the requirements of the MOA.

The CMT is responsible for maintaining continuous contact with the Office of the Independent Monitor (OIM) and DOJ. The CMT is also tasked with ensuring that the MPD both implements and embraces many of the new policies and procedures brought about by the MOA.

The effects of the CMT's work are immeasurable, as they deal with the improvement and the reforming of an agency that serves the citizenry of the nation's capital. With the help of the CMT, uses of force have been reduced to levels that seemed unreachable only a few years ago. Countless new policies that touch upon training, use of force continuum, deadly force, misconduct investigations, canine unit operations, computerized personnel performance management, and much more have been created and shared with the rest of the agency. More importantly, the CMT has worked with all levels of the department to ensure that this new paradigm is accepted by all involved; from the patrol officer up to the executive levels of the agency.

In the area of Prevention - Award #2:

Agency: Ontario Provincial Police
Name of Project/Program: Focus on Professionalism

The "FOCUS ON PROFESSIONALISM" is an organizational change initiative that was undertaken by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in 2002 that resulted in an employee and public driven statement of organizational values and ethical behaviors. The product, "The Promise of the OPP" clearly defines those actions that appear above the ever-rising bar of professionalism.

The initiative was undertaken because the OPP has a proud history of highly effective policing in Ontario and excellent relationships with its partners and diverse communities served. The impetus came from many directions, especially the recognition of police and other public servants needing to stay in sync with society's changing values and standards, and the increasing diversity and multi-culturalism of the province of Ontario.

In the summer of 2002, OPP conducted focus groups with officers and civilians. They were asked to identify specific, observable and measurable behaviors and skills that are professional ideals. The same questions were taken to focus groups held with just female employees, Aboriginal officers, Auxiliary volunteers, our general headquarter staff and Executive Council. An internal web site was also created so people who were not directly involved in the focus groups could provide their ideas on qualities most valued in their colleagues and supervisors.

The common themes from the focus groups were gathered, and "The Promise of the OPP" was created. The Promise states the core values of the organization and defines them in concrete behavioral ways (ethical standards).

Values and ethics became the foundation for OPP's Corporate Business Plans. Additionally, cross-command commitments were made for embedding professionalism in all facets of the OPP's operation, specifying rights and responsibilities for creating and maintaining a positive work environment, and for preventing discrimination and harassment and for resolving workplace conflicts.

A frequent complaint of police services is that they do not stay in touch with the culture and needs of the communities they serve. This can lead to violations of human rights.

The OPP is very sensitive to the needs of the communities they serve and protecting the citizens from harm and human rights violations. The Promise and our "Focus on Professionalism" provide the foundation for our building a strategy for more effectively serving our diverse communities.

In the area of Education:

Agency: Ontario Provincial Police
Name of Project/Program: OPPBound 2004 Aboriginal Peoples

OPPBound is an annual focused recruitment initiative aimed specifically at under-represented peoples to increase awareness of policing employment opportunities. It also provides an opportunity for the OPP to develop a greater understanding of the cultures and beliefs of members of the different ethnic and racial groups of our province. It sends a positive message to the communities, and strengthens the faith and trust of under-represented peoples in fair and equal treatment by law enforcement. It promotes human rights through increased representation of Aboriginal peoples in our ranks and through concentrated recruiting it provides the organization understanding of the cultures and beliefs of our Aboriginal peoples.

OPP polices a large and varied constituency of municipalities and aboriginal communities whose diversity and individual crime and safety concerns help shape OPP service delivery and organizational priorities. Committed to ensuring diversity at all levels, OPPBound focuses on under-represented peoples through a focused recruitment. In the case of OPPBound Aboriginal Peoples, we partnered with the Aboriginal communities. Inside the organization, a partnership between OPP Human Resources Bureau, the Ontario Provincial Police Academy and First Nations Programs was required to provide a 5-day recruitment initiative designed to provide participants with a better understanding of what is required to pursue a career with the organization.

The goal of OPPBound Aboriginal Peoples was to enhance goodwill in the community and increase the number of qualified applicants from this under-represented group. Results achieved include a pool of qualified applicants, and participants of OPPBound now serve as ambassadors for the organization, strengthening relationships in the communities from where they originated. A measure of success is derived from the positive feedback from participants as well as the calls received inquiring about the nature and scheduling of future upcoming OPPBound initiatives.

OPPBound Aboriginal Peoples assisted the OPP in strengthening relationships and enhancing organizational understanding of the Aboriginal communities we police. The OPP seeks to hire people representative of the cultural and racial diversity of the province we serve. In this way we strengthen our relations with the communities and peoples that we serve. It is a public declaration of the commitment of the organization to treating all persons equally and fair, and brings significant positive media attention thus raising the profile and image of the OPP as a progressive, innovative and professional police force dedicated to diversity.

In the area of Investigation:

Agency: Roanoke, Virginia, Police Department
Name of Project/Program: Mount Moriah Baptist Church Hate Crime

Detective J. F. Owens was assigned to a burglary of a church on January 13, 2004. There was extensive property damage done at the time of this offense, to include windows broken by throwing steel chairs, the pulpit overturned, hymnals thrown out of the broken windows, toilets and sinks ripped from fixtures, and a fire extinguisher discharged throughout the church. There were footprints at the scene, which led to a nearby neighborhood.

The victim church, Mount Moriah Baptist Church, was a historic black church whose congregation grew out of a Sunday school for slaves in the mid 1850's, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Detective Owens realized the importance of this church and quickly responded, using all available resources to resolve this case in a positive manner.

Detective Owens initially contacted the school resource officers assigned in the area seeking possible suspects who might live in the area, since there were footprints in the snow, and it was initially suspected to be juveniles involved. He contacted the department's Crime Analysis Unit for a call history of the surrounding neighborhoods, to try to establish other suspects. He conducted a terrain analysis to assist in the investigation, and then found two businesses in the area that had also experienced minor property damage over the weekend time frame as well. He surveyed other businesses in the area, and retrieved video from surveillance cameras from nearby banks and an ABC store. The media was used in an effort to elicit cooperation and participation from the community. Because it was a potential hate crime, the FBI was also contacted. Detective Owens worked closely with the department Identification Unit as well, to develop the clear footprints that were left in the church. Photos of these prints were instrumental in eliciting a confession later in the case. A citizen called the department because she felt badly for the church, and advised a friend's son had come to her house intoxicated and cursing about hating "fu--in' n----s," and bragging about kicking over pews and kicking out windows.

Detective Owens interviewed the named suspect given by the citizen, and determined that his shoe sole matched prints taken from the scene. At that time, he named another suspect, and the two were eventually charged and sentenced under the Federal guidelines for hate crimes, which allowed for enhanced sentences. During this entire process, the media attention on this offense gave several other churches and civic groups in the city an opportunity to assist the victim church membership with cleaning, rebuilding and restoring the church. The community rallied behind the small church and provided an excellent example of how unity and compassion worked to overcome hatred and the destruction it caused to the entire citizenry when the historical church was vandalized.

Detective Owens performed a vital service to the citizens of Roanoke by utilizing all available resources in this investigation. He recognized immediately the importance of this church to the entire community, not just the African Americans who attended there, and it was his commitment to seeing justice for the offenders that make him a worthy recipient of this recognition.

Special Recognition Awards

Presented to Director Sharee M. Freeman

Ms. Sharee Freeman, Director of the Community Relations Service for the US Department of Justice has achieved outstanding accomplishments in the area of promoting positive police-citizen relationships especially as they relate to issues of race, culture and ethnicity.

Under Director Freeman's leadership, the Community Relations Service (CRS) has worked successfully to mediate and resolve conflicts between law enforcement and community groups. She pioneered the "Law Enforcement Mediation/Conflict Resolutions Program" designed to strengthen skills of law enforcement officers to better communicate, investigate, mediate and problem solve in racially diverse communities. She also produced an educational video "The First Three to Five Seconds" addressing hate crimes directed at Arab and Muslim communities and offered insights into the cultural differences within these communities. Additionally she and her staff attend large rallies and demonstrations where racial tension may be present, train volunteers to work alongside police and church groups, and help facilitate and moderate meetings between police and planners to develop contingency plans and help prevent potential conflicts. CRS recently attended the 40th Anniversary March from Selma to Montgomery to perform those duties.

Director Freeman works tirelessly to develop partnerships dedicated to increased police/community communications and relations. She regularly meets with community leaders and law enforcement agencies and travels the country to increase awareness of the need to address issues of racial and ethnic conflict. For her diligent efforts and strong leadership, Director Sharee Freeman is awarded the IACP 2005 Civil Rights Award.

Presented to Shanetta Y. Cutlar

Ms. Shanetta Cutlar, section chief of the US Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, supervises and oversees the work of the Special Litigation Section, which is responsible for the nationwide enforcement of constitutional and federal statutory civil rights laws. Appointed in 2003, her work has spanned health care facilities nationwide, prisons and jails, juvenile detentions, and police misconduct in several jurisdictions.

Under the leadership of Ms. Cutlar, the Civil Rights Division has entered into Consent Decrees with Prince George's County, Maryland and Cleveland, Ohio Police Departments, and has resolved several long-standing police misconduct investigations in Columbus, Ohio, Riverside, California and New Orleans, Louisiana. She personally handled some of DOJ's more complex cases including investigations of the Cincinnati, Prince George's County, and Washington D.C. police departments. An experienced trial attorney, Ms. Cutlar successfully negotiated the Civil Rights Division's first consent decree under the Prison Litigation Reform Act. Throughout, she has employed a cooperative approach with all parties concerned to build consensus and improve police-citizen relations.

Ms. Cutlar's focus as Section Chief has been to advance the cause of civil rights in law enforcement. She facilitated the development and dissemination of DOJ educational materials, and provides technical assistance to jurisdictions that seek to achieve best policing practices. She has worked closely with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) to develop a practical guide for law enforcement executives on how to avoid a DOJ investigation, and continues to lecture, educate and communicate on civil rights issues. Ms. Cutlar has the fortitude and ability to build and sustain relationships between the Civil Rights Division and individual jurisdictions, and works incessantly to strengthen those associations with law enforcement groups. For her dedication to preserve and safeguard civil rights, and for her resolve to work cooperatively with impacted jurisdictions, she is awarded the IACP 2005 Civil Rights Award.

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