Editor’s Note:Thank you to everyone who participated in our 2015 RISE Awards. The nomination process brought many officers and agencies to our attention worthy of commendation. Check out some of our top nominees here.
TASER and Police1 are very pleased to announce the winners of the second RISE Awards: Redlands (Calif.) Police Department, Texarkana (Ark.) Officer Les Munn, and Tampa (Fla.) Officer Felicia Pecora.
This year, we’re happy to add three community groups to the list of winners for their outstanding community leadership: the Yavapai County Coordinated Community Response Team, the Blue Line K9 Foundation, and Ada T. Payne Friends of the Urban Libraries.
For the second year in a row, the RISE Awards proved to be a tremendous success, generating nearly 200 nominations for agencies, officers, and community groups who have risen above the call of duty to better their towns and cities.
After thoroughly reviewing all of the nominations, the following winners were chosen for the RISE Awards’ four categories:
Agency of the Year Award: Redlands Police Department has spent the last four years battling high crime rates and a low budget, and the results are exemplary.
Redlands Police deployed a new GPS strategy that drove down residential and car burglaries, credit card fraud and other scams, and earned the trust of their community, which was more than happy to collaborate in crime prevention efforts once a tried and true approach was in place.
The program didn’t just target and minimize theft, but put career criminals behind bars.
Protect Life: Les Munn of the Texarkana (Ark.) Police Department has proven himself time and again as both a leader and a lifesaver.
Responsible for ramping up an impressive police explorer program, Munn, who is also an EMT, treated an unconscious gunshot victim after responding to the scene where a shooting had occurred and finding several wounded people in a vehicle. At the same time, he instructed an explorer to render aid to another victim in the vehicle. Munn went on to collect evidence at the scene that would later help to capture the suspected gunman responsible for the shootings.
The same year, Munn was first on scene at a car accident where he carefully positioned a victim so that he could breathe, and held him there until EMS arrived. It was later confirmed that his help saved the victim’s life.
Police Leadership: Sgt. Felicia Pecora of the Tampa, (Fla.) Police Department is a 15-year police veteran responsible for saving a community once plagued with crime, and breaking children out of a cycle of poverty and illiteracy.
When Pecora looked into why crime was rising, she discovered high poverty and low graduation rates. She then worked with the public library and community leaders to develop a mentor program that expanded upon children’s reading, science, and art skills.
It’s because of her efforts, in fact, that one of the first-ever Community Leadership Awards is being received by Ada T. Payne Friends of the Urban Libraries.
Here are the winners in the first-ever Community Leadership category, which recognizes civilian groups that work alongside local police departments to fulfill a shared mission.
1. Ada T. Payne Friends of the Urban Libraries is a non-profit organization that has worked in collaboration with Sgt. Pecora and other community members to provide children with an expanded education in the areas of art, reading, and science.
2. Yavapai County Coordinated Community Response Team is a multi-discipline, county-wide task force formed in 2010 by members of the Prescott Valley Police Department Family Violence Unit to better serve the needs of domestic violence and sexual assault victims. The Prescott Valley Police Foundation will be accepting TASER’s donation on behalf of the response team. The group hosts monthly meetings and other events to encourage an open dialog between community members and first responders.
3. Blue Line K9 Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing emotional and financial assistance to officers, their families and agencies faced with the death of a K9 in the line of duty. It was created by Officer Wes Zygmont and his wife after they endured the devastating death of Zygmont’s K9 partner Ronin, who was killed on-duty.
Winners of the Protect Life, Agency of the Year, and Police Leadership Awards will receive a $5,000 Axon technology grant, an all-expenses-paid trip to the IACP 2015 conference in Chicago, IL, and a one-year free subscription to the Police1 Academy.
The three Community Leadership winners will each receive a $5,000 donation to assist them in building a safer community in partnership with their local law enforcement agencies.
Over the past month, we’ve featured profiles of some of the RISE nominees and their departments. If you haven’t read them yet, we encourage you to do so.
Those profiles included Agent Richard Clements of the Brevard County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office, who demonstrated tremendous courage and calm when faced with life-threatening scenarios; Chief Eric Blanchard of the Aransas Pass (Texas) Police Department, who turned around a troubled department by promoting accountability; the North Carolina Local Barbers Association, whose ‘Cops and Barbers’ group continues to strengthen ties between police and the black community; and the Redlands (Calif.) Police Department, who turned a simple GPS device into the solution for countless problems haunting the community.
The hardest part of this process was choosing three ‘most deserving’ officers and agencies, as well as three community organizations. Each nominee deserves recognition and praise for their incredible heroism. On behalf of TASER and Police1, we thank everyone who submitted nominations for their fellow officers, and all of the men and women in blue who put their lives on the line without the expectation of being thanked or recognized.