Riverside Police Department, California

Riverside Police Department, California, was the finalist in the 2012 IACP-Cisco Community Policing Award for departments serving populations of 250,000 and above. In the tradition of IACP's Community Policing Committee an effort is made to present the award at a local event to achieve further recognition, publicize the award and bolster the work of the police department and its community partners.

RPD's officer David Cunningham recognized that most kids involved in after school crimes and disturbances were from one particular school: Ramona High School. He took the initiative to identify and reach out to the community stakeholders and began to build partnerships. Officer Cunningham recognized a problem that was negatively impacting a significant segment of the community and thought outside the box about the best solution, thus creating The Village Project. Here children have the opportunity to participate in numerous activities at the YMCA. RPD saw a decline in calls for service as it has made collaborative efforts to diminish the risks associated with exposure to juvenile delinquency and the victimization of the community's youth in the Ramona neighborhood.

I had the honor to represent Todd Miller (IACP's Community Policing Committee Chair) and the entire committee to present the award in person to Riverside PD. The event took place at the Art Pick Council Chamber in City Hall on the occasion of the swearing in of the newly elected mayor of Riverside, William R. Bailey III. Following the ceremony, Mayor Baily called on IACP and Cisco to present the award to RPD.

After Chief Diaz introduced the project, the partners and the guests, I was given the opportunity to provide brief remarks. I used the podium to introduce the IACP and our committee and mentioned that RPD became a finalist in a competitive process where the committee was able to review applicants from the U.S. and other countries to determine best practices in community policing. I added that RPD represented key principles of community policing: it has built partnerships, it is proactive, officers are empowered and it aims at minimizing the production of crime. It was indeed an exciting moment to then present Chief Sergio Diaz the 2012 Finalist award in the category of population served of 250,000 and above. James Kidd who represented Cisco also added how proud is Cisco to support the IACP Community Policing Committee and its activities and congratulated RPD on this award. See video tape of this session (Item #18 on the City Council's agenda).

 Enclosed are three photos of the event: 1) The remarks at the City Council meeting; 2) the presentation of the award to Chief Diaz, and 3) L-R: James Kidd (Cisco) , Jackie Fielder (YMCA), Chris Fielder (Executive Branch Director, YMCA) Officer Dave Cunningham, RPD Chief Sergio Diaz, Dr. Robbie Friedmann (IACP CP Committee), Officer Dave Cunningham.

 I would like to add some personal observations. Flying from Atlanta to Riverside (via Salt Lake City to Ontario, CA) was an interesting experience. The flights were on time (actually early!), connections were uneventful and I had the opportunity to see much of the US from the sky. That included the snowy mountains surrounding Salt Lake City as well heavy snow on the Rocky Mountains. Gorgeous. Seeing the Great Salt Lake City Desert and the wilderness of the Mojave Desert was fantastic. Seeing the beauty and the size of the country (the visibility was very good) was simply inspiring even if this was not the first time.

 This was my first visit to Riverside but from the little I have seen it is a beautiful city, well kept, clean and well planned. The weather is dry and comfortable. The sense of community and the sense of pride and belonging, displayed by everyone I met or observed, were impressive. People really care about the city. I stayed at the historic Mission Inn hotel where many U.S. presidents have stayed. What a unique place. It was all decorated for Christmas and I could not have helped having a few Kodak moments (see 5 attached photos).

The hospitality was gracious. I was picked up at the airport by officer Mark Reddick and we had a good conversation on community policing, crime causation and preventive measures. We continued the conversation when he dropped me back at the airport as I was headed back to Atlanta the following day. The City Council meeting was longer than usual due to the swearing in of the new mayor but it gave me a chance to observe the elected officials and the citizens that were present. The Riverside Poly High School Junior ROTC presented The Colors and the Riverside Poly High School Chamber Singers gave one of the best renditions of the National Anthem I have ever heard.

 This was followed by dinner with Chief Sergio Diaz, Officer Dave Cunningham, and Jackie and Chris Fielder from the YMCA. We had a pleasant conversation about policing, community involvement, and even discussed great lines in movies that we liked.

 It was an honor and a pleasure to personally present the IACP 2012 Finalist Award to Chief Sergio Diaz of the Riverside Police Department and I want to again express my gratitude for his outstanding hospitality. It was great to meet a group of dedicated public servants and their community partners and I wish them all continued success.

Dr. Robbie Friedmann
Professor Emeritus of Criminal Justice
GILEE Founding Director
Georgia State University

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