South District Community Police Team Honored

January 19, 2011

Officers To Be Awarded Statewide Problem Solving Award

The Wisconsin Association of Community Oriented Police, WACOP, has selected the Madison Police Department's South District Community Police Team (CPT) as the recipient of the third annual Sir Robert Peel Award. The CPT is being recognized for the ongoing Olin Park Project, which has brought together many community partners in order to transform one of Madison's most beautiful public spaces.

The Peel award will be presented to CPT members Thursday, January 20th, during a noon luncheon at WACOP's 2011 Conference, which is being held at the Wisconsin Dells' Chula Vista Resort.

The award is named for London's Sir Robert Peel who, in 1829, implemented the Metropolitan Police Act which led to Britain's first disciplined police force. Officers became known as "Bobby's boys" or "bobbies." Peel also established problem solving policing concepts: known as Peel's Principles. WACOP leaders believe a Peel quote best summarizes the modern award: "The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence" - Sir Robert Peel, 1839.

WACOP believes the South District CPT exemplified problem solving, community-oriented policing with the Olin Park Project which began in February of 2009. For two decades, inappropriate behaviors had kept many citizens from enjoying the park. "Seeking a better understanding of the problem, officers used citizen surveys, as well as observation and data collection" in order to formulate a game plan said South District CPT Sgt. Jim Dexheimer. The CPT ended up pushing forward design changes, "to make the park less attractive for illegitimate users and improve the perception of safety for all citizens," said Sgt. Dexheimer. Officers also looked to change the park's reputation by sponsoring safe, family-oriented activities.

None of this would have been possible without the help of crucial community partners: the Madison Parks Department, Bay Creek Neighborhood Association, Alderman Tim Bruer, and the Madison Parks Commission. The CPT also enlisted the services key volunteers: musicians, wildlife experts, and astronomers, and others who joined forces with the MPD to offer entertainment and education in the park.

The Olin Park Project remains, very much, a work in progress; however Chief Noble Wray and other command staff members are proud of the CPT's accomplishments, and are pleased to see WACOP bestow this honor on team members: Sgt. Jim Dexheimer, Officer Michele Walker, Officer Dave Dexheimer, Officer Thai Xiong, Officer Andre Lewis, Officer Pedro Ortega-Mendoza, Officer Nick Ryan, Officer Chee Lee, Officer Steve Chvala, Officer Jeff Pharo, and Officer Amy Bramlett. Patrol Officers Alison Radzicki, and Mike Evans have also made valuable contributions to the project.

Contact:
  • Joel DeSpain, 266-4897