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IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO PROTECT A NATION
Community Leaders Honored for Crime Prevention Efforts

01/17/05

Photograph of Julia Burney and Jeffrey Troy, Milwaukee Assistant Special Agent in ChargePick up any newspaper or flip on the evening news and you're bound to see stories about crime. But there are scores of crimes that never happen ... because concerned citizens take the time to make a difference.

Their stories often go untold. But in the FBI, we make it our business to honor leaders who help head off crime and terrorism in their communities. Every year, each of our 56 field offices nominates an individual or organization for the Director's Community Leadership Award.

We’d like to introduce you to just a few of the 2004 winners:

Julia Burney, a Racine, Wisconsin, police officer, recognized the power of books to make a difference in the lives of children she met on her beat. So she created the Cops-N-Kids Reading Center, which provides free books to local low-income children and a safe haven for them to gather and read. Now retired, she runs the center full time.

The Fathers Armed Together to Help Educate Restore and Save (F.A.T.H.E.R.S.) Street Patrol is a group of men in Buffalo, New York, who take a hands-on role in making their community safe. Among their successes: closing down a suspected drug house; helping to rebuild a school playground; patrolling areas near inner-city schools; and partnering with police to deter vandalism and shoplifting at a local mall. They also serve as role models for kids by speaking at high school career days and other events.

Scott Erwin of Kansas was working in Iraq as a summer college intern when he created Ambassadors of Democracy, a civic education program that provides a forum for Iraqi students to discuss the tenets of democracy. Tragically, Scott was critically wounded when his vehicle was ambushed while returning to work after the forum's final session. Now recovering in the U.S., he talks with law enforcement and community groups about his experience and about using communication to bridge cultural gaps.

Cynthia Luria is regional director of the Nevada Anti-Defamation League. Under her leadership, the chapter has trained 1,500 law enforcement and military personnel on how to prevent bias and ensure fair treatment for all. Concerned by the aggressive recruitment of local youths by hate groups, she also produced an educational video on them that's been shown to over 12,000 teachers.

Mahmoud Awadallah is the Executive Director of the Arab American Community Center for Economic and Social Services in Ohio. The group’s mission? To promote better understanding of Arab culture and the integration of Arab Americans into the mainstream of American life. Born in Cleveland to Palestinian parents, Mr. Awadallah speaks first-hand about how to bridge the cultural divide.

We salute these individuals ... and all of our Community Leadership Award winners!

Link: Community Outreach Program

Photograph: Julia Burney and Jeffrey Troy, Milwaukee Assistant Special Agent in Charge