Picayune Police Department wins award

Published 4:26 pm Wednesday, August 2, 2006

The Picayune Police Department was recognized as Overall Winner in the annual Municipal Excellence Awards at its meeting in July. The awards are sponsored by the Mississippi Municipal League and Clarion-Ledger.

The Picayune Police Department submitted its Teen Court Program, designed to provide first time juvenile offenders an option other than Youth Court.

The program incorporates educational sessions designed to enhance the understanding of the cause and effect of the juvenile’s actions on him or her personally and on the community. The offenders are judged by a jury of their peers. The jury is comprised of teens that meet specific qualifications and agree to participate according to the rules and regulations of the program, including taking a confidentiality oath. Offenders are involved in community service projects as part of their participation in the program.

An independent panel of judges looked for attributes such as innovation of the project; long-term value to the municipality; the level of participation, interest, and cooperation; potential adaptability to other communities; the improvement to the quality of service or livability of the city, and achievement of the overall goals of the project.

“Winning the overall Excellence Award for 2006 is a tremendous honor and is a great tribute to the professional men and women of the Picayune Police Department,” said Police Chief Jim Luke. “I would like to thank our city leaders for their commitment to putting public safety as their number one priority which contributes to the winning of this award.”

“I’m certainly proud of the Picayune Police Department and the good work they’ve done,” said Picayune Mayor Greg Mitchell. “The City Council has always put public safety as a top priority.”

This is the third year the department has won a Municipal Excellence Award, in 2004 the Partnership, Pride, and Progress Program won the Public Safety Award, and in 2005 the PROUD Program won the Spirit Award.