Friday, September 06, 2002

N.Ky. police initiatives get state recognition

Erlanger, Independence programs among those cited

By Jim Hannah,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FORT MITCHELL — Some Northern Kentucky cops got a salute this week from their colleagues across the commonwealth.

        Several Northern Kentucky community policing initiatives received statewide recognition from Kentucky law enforcement officials, who are gathered for a conference at the Drawbridge Villager Premier Hotel and Suites.

        Erlanger Police Officer Todd Brendel was recognized as the School Resource Officer of the Year for his work at Tichenor Middle School. Officer Brendel helped establish the first school crime watch program in Kentucky three years ago.

        That program, called Team Tichenor, was also recognized as the best Crime Watch Site of the Year. Team Tichenor is a club that encourages students to get involved in the community, from patrolling school grounds after classes to cleaning up parks.

        Officer Brendel said about 100 of the school's 530 students are involved in the program. He credits the program with cutting in half the number of fights between students.

        “We were the first school in the state to do this, and now it is growing,” he said. “There are 75 such programs in Kentucky now.”

        Michael Slaughter, who graduated from Tichenor this past spring, was named Kentucky Crime Watch Student of the Year for his work in the club.

        Michael, 14, now a freshman at Lloyd High School, said he hopes to start a similar club there.

        Officer Brendel and Michael were recognized at the annual Youth Crime Prevention Conference held at the Drawbridge this week in conjunction with the Kentucky Crime Prevention Coalition gathering.

        About 100 students and 25 teachers attended the youth portion of the conference. Other than a $50 registration fee that covered four students and one teacher, the conference was paid for by federal and private grants.

        Independence police received the Best Crime Prevention Programs and Community Involvement Programs Award for a successful citizens police academy.

        The academy's purpose is to educate citizens and to increase awareness of the issues and situations that law-enforcement officers confront. Class topics generally include activities such as firearms training. The citizens academy has graduated 100 residents over two years.

        Randy Gerig, president of the Independence Citizens' Police Academy Alumni, received the Volunteer of the Year Award for hours of volunteer work since October.

        “I was so honored,” said Mrs. Gerig, 34, of Independence. “I'm still speechless. I've put a lot of time into it, but seeing the positive effects makes it all worthwhile.”


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- N.Ky. police initiatives get state recognition