JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES RECIPIENTS OF ANNUAL PROJECT SAFE NEIGHBORHOODS ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
BOSTON, Mass. – The Department of Justice announced the recipients of the annual Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Achievement Awards in a ceremony hosted by Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary G. Grindler at the PSN national conference in New Orleans today. Recipients were chosen from a large pool of nominations submitted by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices across the nation.
The recipients of the 2010 Project Safe Neighborhoods Achievement Awards include Dr. Anthony A. Braga, a Senior Research Associate at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, who received the Outstanding Service by a Research Partner Award for providing research and program development assistance to the Massachusetts PSN Program. Dr. Braga has worked as Research Partner to the District’s PSN and Anti-Gang Initiative for more than eight years. His research into the origins, consequences, locations and demographics of criminal activity in Massachusetts has significantly contributed to determining the effective allocation of law enforcement resources.
“I am proud to announce that our PSN research partner, Dr. Anthony Braga has been recognized for his outstanding contribution in combating violent crime in the District of Massachusetts through his research. Dr. Braga has worked tirelessly with our PSN cities, developing strategic and innovative methods to address gang and gun violence,” said U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz.
The Salvation Army’s Bridging the Gap Program in Springfield, Massachusetts, was also recognized as this year’s Outstanding Juvenile Program Award, along with the Mercer County PSN Juvenile Component in the District of New Jersey. The Bridging the Gap Program is a twelve-week diversion program designed to provide support and skills to first-time juvenile offenders. Using PSN resources, the Salvation Army in Springfield formulated “Operation Closing the Gap”, a branch initiative developed in collaboration with the Springfield Police Department and the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office. Closing the Gap extends the foundations of Bridging the Gap’s services, with a focus on gang intervention, suppression and prevention.
U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said, “I am honored to announce that the Salvation Army’s Bridging the Gap Program was recognized with the 2010 Outstanding Juvenile Program Award.
Bridging the Gap’s innovative approach to serving court-involved and at-risk youth has earned them this national recognition. Ensuring low recidivism is critically important to the future of our youth, and I want to commend Bridging the Gap for their commitment and success.”
“At its core, Project Safe Neighborhoods is built upon the commitment and personal integrity of individuals like those we honor today. This year’s awards celebrate and highlight the work that has been done that has truly made a difference,” said Acting Deputy Attorney General Grindler. “Led by our U.S. Attorneys, federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement and prosecutors are on the frontlines on the streets of America every day. We thank you for your service, and honor your success.”
Additional award recipients recognized today were:
• The PSN Maine Task Force received the Outstanding Media Outreach Campaign Award for its Gun Sellers Awareness Campaign.
• The Western District of Tennessee Law Enforcement Coordination Committee received the Outstanding Local Training Program Award for developing and administering a series of training programs designed to improve the quality of officers= criminal investigations, case documentation and courtroom presentations.
• Recipients of this year’s Outstanding Individual Contribution to a Violent Crime Task Force Award include Law Enforcement Coordinator for the District of New Mexico Ronald P. Lopez, Assistant Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Texas Trent Touchstone and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico Guillermo Gil.
• The Tampa/Hillsborough Comprehensive Anti-Gang Task Force from the Middle District of Florida and the Eastern District of North Carolina PSN Partnership Task Force received the Outstanding Overall Partnership/Task Force Award.
• This year’s Outstanding Local Prosecutor=s Office Award was awarded to the Los Angeles City Attorney=s Office in the Central District of California, the Oklahoma County District Attorney=s Office in the Western District of Oklahoma and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington C. Andrew Colasurdo.
• The San Francisco Police Department received the Outstanding Local Police Department Involvement Award for its innovative violence reduction strategy designed to direct a concerted enforcement effort in “hot spots” in each of the 10 police districts in the city.
• The Outstanding Gun Crime Investigation Award was awarded to Operation Gideon in the District of Arizona, Operation Glass Hotel in the District of Columbia, Operation Statesboro Blues in the Southern District of Georgia, and Operation City Nights in the Eastern District of Missouri.
• Operation Augusta Ink in the Southern District of Georgia, the Western District of North Carolina MS-13 Investigation and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force in Newport News, Va., received the award for Outstanding Gang Investigation.
• This year’s Outstanding Community Involvement Award was awarded to the Youth Intervention Network in the Northern District of California for its comprehensive initiative designed to build and support a high performing and robust community working together to serve youth identified as likely to commit or become victims of violent crimes without prevention assistance.
• Hartford Neighborhood Centers Inc. in the District of Connecticut and the Miami-Dade Reentry Task Force received the Outstanding Reentry Initiative Award.
To find out about more about PSN and its local programs, visit the PSN website at www.psn.gov.