The Sugar Land Police Department’s 2010 Officer of the Year Award went to a sergeant whose leadership resulted in more than 70 arrests during a six-month period that ranged from illegal drugs to burglaries, thefts and dangerous weapons.
Sgt. Mike Richards leads a special impact team that coordinates department-wide resources to address vehicle burglaries in the region. Property crimes have been an area of emphasis during recent years and prompted the formation of Richards’ team.
His efforts helped SLPD achieve a 3.1 percent decrease in the 2010 crime rate. Through a comprehensive and systematic approach, Richards’ task force utilized targeted patrols, surveillance, citizen volunteers and education to address vehicle burglaries, a problem facing cities across the nation.
“When the impact team was created, we knew success depended on finding a leader who was creative, aggressive and most of all, determined to achieve results,” said Lt. John Bauer, Richards’ supervisor. “Mike has created that results-oriented approach. Whether his team is conducting surveillance or standing at the front doors of local businesses handing out crime prevention information, Mike is standing right there with his team to lend a helping hand.”
The 2010 Officer of the Year trophy, a replica of the Guardian statue in front of SLPD, was presented to Richards at Safari Texas Ranch on Feb. 3 during the SLPD Employee Awards Banquet, an event attended by more than 250 people.
The SLPD Meritorious Conduct Board selected Richards based on his dedication to public safety and tremendous work ethic throughout 2010.
Richards’s team includes two full-time officers, six crime prevention officers and park officers. He often partners with surrounding agencies to expand the reach of his team. It’s not uncommon for his team’s membership to include the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Bend County constables or police officers from Missouri City, Stafford and Fort Bend ISD.
Citizen volunteers have also been important to Richards’ success. Members of SLPD’s Community Assistance Support Team (CAST) help with high visibility patrols, surveillance activities and educational outreach efforts that are important to the team’s success.
Through signage and citizen presentations, the impact team continually reminds citizens to avoid leaving valuables – including purses, electronics, GPS and other items – inside vehicles. Their message is simple, but it’s one that Richards relentlessly repeats at every opportunity.
Richard’s perseverance, leadership and commitment were highlighted during his recognition as the 2010 Officer of the Year. Others honored during the awards banquet included:
• Mike Castaneda, SLPD civilian employee of the year;
• Bob Milke, Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association (CPAAA) volunteer of the year;
• Charles Stansell, CAST volunteer of the year; and
• Bauer, CPAAA Officer of the Year.