By George Kevin Jordan, AFRO Staff Writer

It takes a lot of courage to serve your community. It takes even more courage to serve your community as a member of law enforcement. It can be a complicated relationship, one stretched thin by long hours, many moving parts, and engaging with both a city and the citizens who call it home. This week at THEARC, 1901 Mississippi Avenue SE, the 19th annual Metropolitan Police Department Awards Ceremony was held to, “honor employees of the MPD and our law enforcement partners, civic organizations, and residents who have helped make a difference in our communities over the past year.”

Mayor Muriel Bowser welcomed the department and awardees saying “Each day you put your lives on the line to protect our public safety, our health, our well being and our sense of safety in our homes, on our trains and on our way to work, in parks and library and all of the things we do in our daily lives.

The Metropolitan Police Department was honored at the 19th annual Awards Ceremony at THEARC in Southeast, D.C. (Photo by George Kevin Jordan)

“I am very proud of the work of our officers to build trust in our communities and to embrace community policing. You know our residents understand the history of our diverse neighborhoods and that’s the only way you can be effective in policing. We know that a strong and supported MPD ensures a strong and safe Washington D.C.,” the mayor said.

The awards were divided into several different categories including: Sworn Bureau Employees of the Year; Civilian Bureau Employees of the Year; District Officers of the Year; Youth Division Detetive of the Year; Community Policing Award; the Joseph Pozell Reserve Member of the Year; Citizen Volunteer Corps Member of the Year; Crime Suppression Team Award; Crime Reduction Award; Patrol Services Area of the Year; School Resource Officer of the Year; NSID Officer of the Year; SAU/SIB Detective of the Year; Detective of the Year; Sergeant of the Year; Lieutenant of the Year; Captain of the Year; Inspector of the Year; the Deborah Ennis Civilian Employee of the Year; Officer of the Year; Law Enforcement Commendation Award and Chief of Police Special Award.

Officer Tiara Brown received the Officer of the Year award. Brown is a professional boxer who was also a member of the U.S. Olympic team from 2009-2015, according to her bio. She stands by the credo “I am my brother’s keeper.”

The Gun Recovery Unit received the Crime Reduction Award for recovering over 425 firearms and 8,600 rounds of ammunition. This is the second biggest recovery since the unit started in 2007.

Also receiving the Chief of Police Special Award were UDC Professors Bernard Demczuk and Sharita Thompson, Dean Marilyn Hamilton, of UDC Community College and Dr. Sandra Jowers-Barber who all worked together on a program, touring members of MPD through the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), learning about the “historical interactions between law enforcement and minority communities.” Since 2018, over 2,300 members have completed the training with more scheduled this year.

Father Cornelius Kelechi Ejiogu, pastor of St. Luke’s Catholic Church, 4925 East Capitol Street, Southeast, was also honored with the Chief of Police Special Awards for his service in his community, supporting 6th District events, and serving the people.

For a list of all winners please go to https://mpdc.dc.gov/page/mpd-annual-awards