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2011 Police Community Relations Award Winners

Beyond the Badge... Committed to our Communities

Police Community Relations Awards banner
On Thursday, May 19, 2011, the following officers were honored at the 32nd Annual Police Community Relations Awards Ceremony and Reception, held at the Palmer Building in uptown Charlotte. The awards recognize officers and work teams from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department who have made outstanding contributions to the improvement of police-community relations in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area.

Officer Ryan Botzenmayer, University City Division
Officer Ryan Botzenmayer
University City Division
 

"Partnerships built from police-community relations help to develop solutions for problems that affect the community and to improve the quality of life for citizens. These partnerships produce a long-term benefit because all of the stakeholders are involved and are part of the solution." - Officer Ryan Botzenmayer

Few people truly know and understand the University area as well as Officer Ryan Botzenmayer. He has developed valuable relationships with the apartment communities, business sector, neighborhoods and UNC Charlotte. From his regular attendance at homeowner’s association meetings to frequent conversations with hotel managers and campus police, Officer Botzenmayer ensures that the lines of communication stay wide open throughout north Charlotte. This kind of outreach has built a constructive, positive rapport with the entire community he works to serve.
 Officer Patrick Hairston, Westover Division
Officer Patrick Hairston
Westover Division
"It is critical that the police and community partner together to fight and prevent crime. The police depend on the community to be its eyes and ears by reporting crime, suspicious activity and sharing information." - Officer Patrick Hairston

Officer Patrick Hairston has been known to go above and beyond to ensure residents are as safe as possible. In fact, when he knows someone is going out of town or is in the hospital, neighbors say he shows genuine concern and works to increase local patrols. Residents of the Madison Park Neighborhood, in particular, rely on him each month to provide crime updates as well as tips to avoid becoming a victim. Officer Hairston’s passion for maintaining good police-community relations has resulted in a proactive community and a positive impression of CMPD in the Westover Division.

 Officer Julio Herrera, South Division
Officer Julio Herrera
South Division
I build bridges through communication with the communities that surround the school setting. The biggest satisfaction I get as a school resource officer is hearing each one of my students’ names called as they cross the stage on graduation day.” - Officer Julio Herrera

As a school resource officer, Officer Julio Herrera strives to make an impact on the development of our future leaders. He fosters positive relationships with all of the communities around the school so that students have a safe, supportive and caring environment in which to grow. Young people who may be straying toward gangs or other illegal activity are often counseled by him one-on-one. Residents can attest to his compassion, which goes far beyond work hours, as they very often see Officer Herrera at school events during his off-time. For these reasons and many more, he is highly respected by all who know him.
Officer Jacquelyn Hulsey, Westover Division
Sergeant Jacquelyn Hulsey
Westover Division
“In my current position, I have come to know certain community leaders, apartment managers and business representatives and developed a friendship with them. The better I know the members of my community, the more I strive to assist them with their goals, as their friend.” - Sergeant Jacquelyn Hulsey

The notion of friendship is a primary motivator for Sergeant Jackie Hulsey’s devotion to the citizens she serves in the Westover Division. By knowing them personally and building relationships, the business aspect of policing becomes more of a “friends helping friends” approach. It is this true understanding of community policing that led to a unanimous vote by a local homeowner’s association to nominate her for this award. Her ability to relate with her community has led to a successful crime-fighting collaboration between CMPD and residents served in the Westover Division.

 Captain Johnny Jennings, North Tryon Division
Captain Johnny Jennings
North Tryon Division
“Police officers must become a part of the communities we serve and work with our citizens for solutions. We may not be able to save the world, but we can make a positive difference one community at a time.” - Captain Johnny Jennings

Finding the underlying issues related to criminal activity requires a complete understanding of the community, which happens to be Captain Johnny Jennings’ specialty. He has a commitment to ensuring that the rights of citizens are upheld and gives each case the utmost attention and care it deserves. Anyone involved with one of his cases knows Captain Jennings investigates until an issue is fully resolved. He is described as “very deserving of recognition” for his unique ability to gain both respect and trust within the community as a result of his thorough dedication.

 Officer Dan Kellough, Providence Division
Officer Dan Kellough
Providence Division
“Our mission, as we serve our respective communities, is to improve their overall quality of life by developing that very important partnership which is necessary in bringing both entities together. We do this with hard work, dedication, integrity, respect and a desire to make a difference.” - Officer Dan Kellough

Officer Dan Kellough makes traditional and nontraditional efforts to know his community and allow them to know him. Just about every week, he can be found in the Grier Heights barber shop getting his hair cut, often sitting beside a resident he may have arrested in the past or simply encountered while on patrol. They do not talk of police-related issues during this time, as he is seen purely as a member of the community, which is one of the goals of his approach to community policing. His unique style has proven successful in solving crime, improving accountability and increasing community involvement -- all making Charlotte a safer place.

 Sergeant Ken Schul, North Tryon Division
Sergeant Ken Schul
North Tryon Division
“The police and the community both benefit by addressing crime problems and other issues when emphasizing communication. The community becomes more knowledgeable of law enforcement issues and the police are more aware of crime and disorder in a particular community.” - Sergeant Ken Schul

Communication is crucial to Sergeant Ken Schul’s approach to good police-community relations. Not only does he publish the On the Beat newsletter for North Tryon residents; he also takes every opportunity to meet with them face-to-face and truly listen to their concerns. Trends in criminal activity in the Hidden Valley community have declined because of efforts like his: a willingness to help resolve issues before they become major problems. He also reaches out to help the community's citizens and businesses locate resources they need, from grants for better lighting to methods for reporting suspicious activity. 
 
 Detective Brian Wakeland, Hickory Grove Division
Detective Brian Wakeland
Hickory Grove Division
“I have found in my career to be more personal and less authoritative in nature with citizens to build the bond needed between the community and the police department. In doing so, both can work as one unit towards a positive mission of making our communities a better and safer place to live.” - Detective Brian Wakeland

During his more than 23 years with CMPD, Detective Brian Wakeland has continued to exercise the golden rule of “treating others as you’d like to be treated.” This belief has made him a success in building relationships within the Hickory Grove community. Every time citizens come into contact with him, they have his undivided attention and he never fails to follow up on needs or inquiries that are communicated to him. Utilizing this method has allowed him to build a solid, two-way relationship with the community.

 Officers Carolynn Pierce and Kenneth Faulkner, Metro Division
Officers Carolynn Pierce and Kenneth Faulkner
Metro Division
“It is imperative to focus on improving the relationship between the police and the communities we serve; the relationship not only impacts crime but it helps to create a sense of trust. When citizens trust the police, they are more likely to be involved in making their neighborhoods safer.” - Officer Carolynn Pierce

“The relationship between the police and the community should be formed with mutual respect, dedication and trust. The police have to become a part of the community to accomplish a strong and lasting relationship with the neighborhood.” - Officer Kenneth Faulkner

Officers Carolynn Pierce and Kenneth Faulkner are highly regarded by residents within the Metro Division. Neighbors agree that they can always depend on this team for help with issues they’re having as well as attendance at their community meetings. Both officers believe in the self-empowerment of community policing and the idea that citizens who trust the police are more likely to be involved in making their neighborhoods safer. Most importantly, Officers Faulkner and Pierce make the residents of their community feel safe and informed. They are described as “firm, friendly and active” -- all traits of excellent community policing.

 Officers John Kitchens and Beth Jackson, South Division
Officers John Kitchens and Beth Jackson
South Division
The relationship between the police department and the community is an essential alliance that helps reduce citizen fears of crime, improve police-community relations, and facilitate more effective responses to community problems.” - Officer John Kitchens

“A positive working relationship between the community and the police department is imperative in preventing and reducing crime. When you have the elements of education, trust and communication, it creates a sustainable bond between police efforts and community efforts.” - Officer Beth Jackson

Residents in the South Division actually consider themselves lucky to have Officers Beth Jackson and John Kitchens protecting their neighborhoods. A common theme throughout all nominations for this team was “responsiveness.” It’s clear that this team sticks to the principle of building a sustainable bond between the police and community, as many Park Crossing neighbors express that these two are familiar faces. Thanks to the tireless efforts and continuous presence of Officers Jackson and Kitchens, residents are very well-informed and proactive when it comes to crime prevention.