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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 2014  05:24:18 AM

Community Police Section earns top crime prevention honors in Austin

Email   Print   Share By Heather Graham-Ashley, Sentinel News Editor
December 16, 2010 | News
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Fort Hood School-based Law Enforcement officers Sgt. Bruce Rutledge and Spc. Angel Felix stand with CTCPA president Darrell Halstead Friday. Heather Graham-Ashley, Sentinel News Editor
AUSTIN – Fort Hood’s Community Police Section earned top honors in its class from the Central Texas Crime Prevention Association Friday in Austin.

During the association’s annual awards banquet at the Travis County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Hood’s Community Police Section and School-based Law Enforcement were named Outstanding Crime Prevention Agency – Specialized Agency in their categories.

Awards were presented for the sections’ overall and substantial contributions to crime prevention.

This year marks the first that a Central Texas military installation has received these awards. The Fort Hood agency has only been with the CTCPA for about eight months, Sgt. Andrew Samarripa, Fort Hood Community Police Section team leader, said.

“The crime prevention team worked extremely hard,” Assistant Chief of Police Tracy Ramthum, said. “This is just a reflection of their efforts.”

Members of CTCPA self-nominated for the awards with a synopsis of their programs.

School-based Law Enforcement, which is a branch of Fort Hood’s Community Police Section, has been expanding its youth-based crime preventions since 2008, Capt. Jonathan Caylor, supervisor, Community Police, said. Expanded programs within the section include Gang Resistance and Education Training, Drug Abuse Resistance Education, anti-bullying programs, the Junior Police and Fire Academy and a McGruff program for younger children.

All nine of the schools located on the installation participate in the DARE and GREAT programs.

Additionally, the school-based team conducted juvenile street crime operations which contributed to a 51 percent decrease in juvenile crime this past summer versus summer 2009, Caylor said.

As a whole, the Community Police Section has expanded and increased patrols and programs to fight and prevent crime on the installation. Bike patrols have been expanded to include Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area to further the safety of families visiting the lake area.

The section also offers crime prevention classes and briefings such as home, vehicle, personal safety and child safety that can be tailored to specific audiences.

Under the Community Police Section, Fort Hood Directorate of Emergency Services has sponsored bicycles, National Night Out, Neighborhood Watch and town hall meetings geared toward crime prevention and safety on the installation.

Officers with the Community Police Section said they love their jobs because they get to work closely with the members of the Fort Hood community.

Bike patrol officer and chief of the crime prevention unit Sgt. Bruce Rutledge said the primary focus of the Community Police Section is the residents and working with them toward fighting and preventing crime.

School-based Law Enforcement officer Spc. Angel Felix, a Fort Hood DARE officer, said he particularly enjoys working with the youngest Fort Hood family members.

“I love my job and making a difference teaching the kids,” Felix said. “I hope they remember the lessons in the future.”

Ramthum said the close relationship between the Community Police Section and Fort Hood residents is a reason for the success of the section.

“We are fortunate to have a working relationship and collaborative effort with residents, Fort Hood Family Housing and Garrison directorates,” the assistant chief said.

Fort Hood joined CTCPA after Samarripa attended a meeting as a way to network and establish two-way conversations about crime prevention.

“Fort Hood is very good at involving the community,” CTCPA president Darrell Halstead said. “I see a lot of good support.”
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