The annual Citizens’ Crime Watch Awards ceremony took place recently at the Doubletree Airport Convention Center.
Over 400 people attended. Pinecrest was well represented with six-year police officer Alexandra Martinez, 14-year veteran Sergeant Michael Gorsline and Police Chief Samuel Ceballos, Jr., Carmen Caldwell, executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade County, oversaw the event.
“In our 38th year, we’re here tonight to celebrate and recognize those who make a difference. It’s our citizens, Crime Watchers and police officers who together fight crime,” said Caldwell, who has been involved with crime prevention for 30 years and has run CCW for 15 years. “I am very happy and proud to help organize this ceremony because I can personally thank all the people for their help, donations and support.”
CBS4’s Brian Andrews served as MC and was in rare form as he weaved his way through the crowd adding humor throughout the ceremony. He had a particularly good time joking with county and police officials. He and Caldwell also found a fun way of awarding cologne door prizes.
Andrews called the scent “The Commissioner” and made several impromptu humorous “commercials” as they handed them out. County Commissioner Lynda Bell played along and made a nice speech midway through the ceremony.
During the evening, awards were handed out to those individuals who were most helpful to CCW during the past year. The Citizens’ Crime Watch school winners were: Saniorah Edouard, Student of the Year; Dr. Marta Mejia, Principal of the Year and Darryl Dunn Resource Officer of the Year. The Citizens Involvement of the Year award went to Melanie Samuelson. Crime Watcher of the Year went to Ralph Balkin. Police Officer of the Year went to two winners: Ralph Pagan from Miami-Dade and Nick Wollschlager from the Village of Biscayne Park.
Chairperson of the Year was awarded to the citizen who ran their Neighborhood Watch group. For Miami-Dade, the winner was Adrian Lorenzo and for municipality the winner tuned out to be — me. Yes, this is the first time I get to report on myself.
Overall, the event sheds light on how citizens and police form a partnership that enhances crime prevention, and 2012 saw a continued decline in crime statistics. Crime Watch of Miami-Dade County credits the partnership with their involvement.
If you are interested in starting a neighborhood watch group or donating to this worthwhile non-profit, go to <www. citizenscrimewatch.org >
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Hal Feldman (MiamiHal) is a Realtor with RE/MAX Advance Realty. Contact him with story ideas or real estate questions at <www.MiamiHal.com>.