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2013 Police Community Relations Award Winners
 


CREATING PARTNERSHIPS AMONG NEIGHBORS TO PROTECT CHARLOTTE-MECKLENBURG
Police Community Relations Awards banner
On Thursday, May 16, 2013, the following officers were honored at the 34th annual Police Community Relations Awards ceremony and reception, held at CenterStage in NoDa. 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 Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

Officer Charles Artis
Officer Charles Artis 
North Division
 

I try to provide a safe learning environment and be a positive influence in the lives of young people, so that the students see policing as more than arrests and speeding tickets.”  --Officer Charles Artis

With 18 years of law enforcement experience, ten of which have been as a School Resource Officer, Charles Artis has seen first-hand the countless challenges facing adolescents today. But in his assignment at Ranson Middle School, he works to provide both a safe learning environment and a positive influence in the lives of students. When the mother of a new student reached out to him for assistance in her daughter’s transition at the school, she was touched by his responsiveness and genuine reassurances. He’s known for regularly going above and beyond his job requirements, and cares deeply about the school he serves and community as a whole.
 Major Bruce Bellamy
Major Bruce Bellamy
Metro Division
“Serving the community is one of our guiding principles. Everything we do as police officers is about community service; from responding to a life-threatening call to assisting a disabled motorist.”  --Major Bruce Bellamy

Major Bruce Bellamy credits one of his early mentors at CMPD with teaching him that good policing is the result of always considering the impact to three factions: community, organization, and employees. His commitment to this wise advice has resulted in a selfless mindset throughout his career, as well as recognition within the community he serves. His keen and sincere commitment to the safety of the Metro Division is making a big difference, and both businesses and neighbors are grateful for it. Major Bellamy is a prime example of excellent police community relations.
 Lieutenant Thomas Gwaltney
Lieutenant Thomas Gwaltney
Westover Division
“I believe that a better-informed community will become more involved in the police process and work collaboratively in creative ways to solve the community’s problems.” --Lieutenant Thomas Gwaltney

Neighbors of Madison Park consider themselves lucky to have Lieutenant Thomas Gwaltney on their side. In addition to assisting with the Madison Park community garden, National Night Out, and regular homeowners’ association meetings, Lt. Gwaltney also truly listens to his community when they voice their concerns. After experiencing repeated issues throughout the years with speeding and running of stop signs, Lt. Gwaltney made sure there was a visible increase in patrols and before they knew it, neighbors say these traffic issues had been reduced. This kind of exemplary public service is truly worthy of a police community relations award.
Officer David Hudson
Officer David Hudson
Metro Division
“Being a community officer is a calling; not a job. This appointment allows me to enjoy the successes that my neighborhoods have had.” --Officer David Hudson

The ability to collaborate and tap into partnerships is a common theme among the nominations written for Officer David Hudson. His friendly face is a familiar sight to McCrorey Heights residents, who say he works hard to ensure neighbors are always positively engaged and aware of best practices. He is described as an important facilitator of personal safety and is said to maintain respectful decorum in all interactions. To a good community police officer, there are few greater compliments than that of being called a “significant partner in the safety of Charlotte.”
 Officer Jeffrey Johnson
Officer Jeffrey Johnson
Steele Creek Division
"Engaging with police officers can be daunting, but I make it easy for my community; educating them and sharing my cell phone number for additional help.” --Officer Jeffrey Johnson

Referred to by a nickname of “Officer JJ” by the Montclaire South Homeowners’ Association, Officer Jeffrey Johnson has achieved a warm comfort level and sincere approachability with his community. Neighbors say he is an exceptional representative of CMPD, as he has loyally provided prompt responses to issues ranging from conflicts with neighboring communities to routine traffic concerns; from oversized vehicles to standard crime surveillance. This kind of respect for the community has earned him a reputation as a remarkable community police officer.
 Officer Richard Lipscomb
Officer Richard Lipscomb
Hickory Grove Division
“I wear many hats proudly and it can be challenging, but my goal is to make a difference in the lives of as many students as possible while fulfilling my role as a police officer.” --Officer Richard Lipscomb

It is said that School Resource Officer Richard Lipscomb has made such a positive impact on students’ lives at Albemarle Road Middle School that the staff considers him an integral part of everyday life at the school. The students, faculty and families all feel they know him personally and say he is never without a positive attitude and smile on his face. In addition to being highly visible on campus, he goes above and beyond to show students he cares about their safety, academic success, positive behavior, and overall well-being. This kind of dedication is to be commended and applauded.
 Officer Kenisha Mobley
Officer Kenisha Mobley
Metro Division
“When the police work with the community to assess and solve their issues – and not just dictate what they have to do – relationships can be forged; positively affecting society as a whole.” --Officer Kenisha Mobley

To experience minimal police-related incidents at a school with more than 1,000 students enrolled, 46% of whom come from poverty-level homes, is quite an achievement. As the School Resource Officer at the Northwest School of the Arts, Officer Kenisha Mobley attends every single performance or community event, and is considered a trusted friend by parents and families of Northwest. After setting up a safety patrol unit within the school, she has continued to inspire students to open up to her about safety concerns and even their own goals of someday becoming a member of law enforcement. Building such meaningful relationships with the group she’s assigned to protect is exactly how she earned a police community relations award this year.
Officer Katie Swartz 
Officer Katie Schwartz
Westover Division
“I look out for each person in my community as if they were family. I am honored every day to put on my badge and represent the City of Charlotte to protect, serve, and care for my community.” --Officer Katie Schwartz

The Madison Park Homeowners Association credits the above-and-beyond efforts of Officer Katie Schwartz with their recent “100% crime free” status in the neighborhood. It is a proud moment for this community, after working together to implement different policing strategies. They say Officer Schwartz is present and proactive at all events, even showing up with a patrol car full of Halloween candy during their Trunk or Treat celebration. When issues arise during inconvenient times, such as after-hours code enforcement, Officer Schwartz makes the necessary connections in order to help her community. She is a true partner and excellent community police officer.
Officers Paul Blackwood and Gregory McTigue 
Officers Paul Blackwood and Gregory McTigue
Metro Division
“Community policing is a necessary partnership in order to better serve and develop solutions to problems; increasing the trust between our citizens and the police.” --Officer Paul Blackwood

“By keeping an open line of communication with our neighborhoods, we empower residents to be a part of the solution, ultimately leading to a better quality of life.” --Officer Gregory McTigue

Officers Paul Blackwood and Gregory McTigue employed creativity and commitment to resolving a problem of recurring arrests at the North Tryon Men’s Shelter during the fall of 2012. After recognizing a rapidly increasing amount of calls for service, the team sat down with the Men’s Shelter staff to educate them on their own internal rules versus law enforcement. Next, they worked with staff to create a “Chronic Offenders” list and, later, a “Ban List.” After a noticeable drop in crime at the shelter, Officers Blackwood and McTigue were able to communicate with the District Attorney’s office about how best to handle the chronic offenders, identifying mental health concerns and connecting those people with appropriate services. Throughout the process, it was the partnerships built by these officers with multiple agencies which achieved a successful result.
Officers Dana Lewis and Darrell Meadows
Officers Dana Lewis and Darrell Meadows
North Division

“I strive to promote the utilization of local resources to assure a better quality of life in our communities.” --Officer Dana Lewis

“We depend on the community to be our ‘crime watch;’ therefore, we need to be approachable, easy to reach and dependable.” --Officer Darrell Meadows

Residents in the Keeneland neighborhood of the North Division say it’s not unusual for Officers Dana Lewis and Darrell Meadows to assist with issues outside of their job descriptions. It’s just the kind of police officers they are! For example, after a resident moved out of their house and sent a clean-up crew, loads of trash ended up being dumped into a neighbor’s yard. Officer Meadows guided the neighbor throughout the ordeal, following up daily to ensure it was resolved. Officer Lewis is similarly committed to maintaining solid relationships and providing excellent public service; attending countless neighborhood events and always offering personal safety tips. Both officers are described as kind, helpful, and dedicated to ensuring their community is safe.