Memphis Community Safety Partners Win National Award

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Publication Date: 10/13/2008

MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Award Honors Rhodes College, Memphis Police Department and PJA Committee Members

Rhodes College and the Memphis Police Department (MPD) will be honored October 15 by MetLife Foundation for significant accomplishments in reducing crime and improving quality of life in the City of Memphis.  Deputy Director of Police, Janice Pilot; Rhodes College President, William E. Troutt; and MetLife Managing Director, Carl Olson will be on hand for the MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Award ceremony at 1 p.m. at the Hollywood Community Action Police Substation (CoAct) in the Memphis Public Library at 2466 Peres Avenue. 
 
The awards, sponsored by MetLife Foundation and administered by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), recognize partnerships between community development groups and police departments that have reduced crime and spurred housing development, economic activity and improved community services in low- and moderate-income communities.  The Memphis partners will receive a $15,000 second-place Neighborhood Revitalization Award to sustain their community safety activities.
 
“Community groups and police departments share a common goal: creating safe, livable communities,” said Sibyl Jacobson, president of MetLife Foundation. “The Memphis community safety partners provide an exemplary model of partnership, and we are pleased to join LISC in recognizing their results and sharing their best practices with others groups across the country.”

The recent improvements in the Memphis area serve as a strong example of the positive results that occur when police departments collaborate with local development organizations. Creative community policing coupled with targeted economic development efforts produced a significant reduction in drug activity and related violent crime, while also substantially increasing the economic vitality of the neighborhoods targeted by the partnership.  One key organizing vehicle has been the Police and Joint Agency (PJA) Committee. Under the leadership of Dr. Mike Kirby, Plough Professor of Urban Studies at Rhodes College, and Lt. Steve Ware of the Memphis Police Department, the PJA Committee meets monthly to analyze crime patterns and develop strategies to address crime generators in the community. 

Rhodes College and the Memphis Police Department were selected from a record number of applicants--over 500 nationwide--for the MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Award. Other recipients of the Neighborhood Revitalization Award are based in Providence, RI; Indiantown, FL; Ypsilanti, MI; Boston, MA and Phoenix, AZ.

“These Memphis partners have achieved marked improvements in neighborhood safety and health in the face of very challenging circumstances,” said Julia Ryan, director of the Community Safety Initiative (CSI), the national LISC program that administers the awards.

LISC is the nation’s leading community development support organization. Since 1980, LISC has marshaled more than $8.6 billion from investors, lenders, and donors to support the revitalization of urban and rural communities nationwide. LISC established CSI in 1994 to help neighborhood groups develop alliances with police departments to combat persistent crime and disorder problems (www.lisc.org/csi).

MetLife Foundation, established by MetLife in 1976, is a long-time supporter of LISC’s community revitalization programs. In 1994, the Foundation made a $1 million leadership grant to pilot the CSI.  MetLife and the Foundation have also made below-market rate loans and grants of more than $76 million to the organization. For more information about the Foundation, visit www.metlife.org.