UGA Police Department finalist for top international award

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia Police Department has joined some of the nation’s largest law enforcement organizations as a finalist for a prestigious award presented by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

The UGA department is one of 25 finalists for the Webber Seavey/Motorola Award, which recognizes law enforcement agencies throughout the world for creative and innovative community policing and public safety programs. The department is the only law enforcement agency in Georgia and the only campus law enforcement agency in the country named a finalist.

Other finalists include the police departments of Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and Honolulu, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the New Jersey attorney general’s office.

UGA’s entry in the competition is for its Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit (EOD, bomb unit) program. Started in 1997, the EOD unit provides state-of-the-art services not only to the UGA campus and the immediate Athens-Clarke County area, but also to 34 other Northeast Georgia counties. The unit is one of 16 serving the state under Georgia’s comprehensive Homeland Security program.

The unit has responded to about 45 requests for assistance since it began. UGA police officials believe no other university or college police agency in the country provides a higher level of technology and service than the EOD.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police, founded in 1893, has more than 20,000 members from more than 100 countries. The association assists executive-level police department administrators in using modern techniques to manage policing.

“This is a great honor for our work to be recognized by the largest police association in the world,” said UGA Police Chief Jimmy Williamson. “The men and women in our department are committed to providing the very best police and public safety service possible. The EOD unit plays a vital role in our ability to provide those services and to continue to protect our neighborhoods and communities.”

The 25 finalists will be narrowed to 10, from which three winners will be chosen to receive the award at the IACP annual conference in Miami in September.