NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The Department of Justice recognized local law enforcement agencies and a school in Newport News for their collaborative community efforts.
The department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) presented the 2017 L. Anthony Sutin Civic Imagination Award to the Newport News Police Department, the Newport News Sheriff’s Office, and An Achievable Dream, Inc.
The annual award is given to law enforcement teams and community members who use innovative interactions to transform public safety in the community.
COPS director Phil Keith says that around 50 applicants from across the country applied for the honor and An Achievable Dream was the only one selected.
“95 percent go to college. 5 percent go to the military. There aren’t that many programs that can tout that kind of record. That builds character and that’s what our country needs nowadays, which is character,” said COPS director Phil Keith.
An Achievable Dream is a school, sponsored by the Newport News Public School District, that provides K-12 students with a moral, social, and challenging academic education, according to Lee Vreeland, Achievable Dream’s vice president of academics.
Students who are at risk of failing school due to socioeconomic risks are selected.
Officers and deputies interact with the students daily.
“Our message is we can’t solve all the problems ourselves. We need them so they got to be our partners,” said interim Newport News Police Chief Mike Grinstead.
Sheriff Gabe Morgan was also in attendance to accept the award.
He believes this shows that if communities work together, they can change lives.0
“I will tell any community there is no reason why you can’t replicate this in your community. You can help kids achieve their dream,” Morgan said.