Director’s Community Leadership Award
The FBI can only conduct investigations and protect the American people if it has the support and understanding of the American people. That’s why the special agents-in-charge of each of our 56 field offices work so closely with their communities and community organizations. The FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award was formally created in 1990 to honor individuals and organizations for their extraordinary contributions to the prevention of crime and violence in the community. Every year, FBI field offices around the country select a community partner to receive the award.
2021 San Diego FBI – DCLA Recipient – STAR/PAL
STAR/PAL was selected by FBI San Diego for their devotion to providing leadership, mentorship, and opportunities to underserved youth while engaging with law enforcement and collaborative partners, building a foundation for a safer and more prosperous community. Since 1988, the STAR/PAL program has assisted in bridging the gap between youth and law enforcement, positively impacting the areas in which we live and work.
STAR/PAL provides a safe space where children of all ages get the chance to discover and develop themselves. Police officers from the San Diego Police and County Probation Departments work with civilian personnel and trained law enforcement volunteers to ensure that all youth have access to similar opportunities. They provide an array of support, ranging from friendships to homework help, assistance with a project to advice about life. STAR/PAL teaches youth how to recognize and utilize their potential to become leaders in their schools and communities.
STAR/PAL facilitates multiple programs each year, including the San Diego Regional Law Enforcement Teddy Bear Drive and the Shop With A Cop programs.
For more than 30 years, the Teddy Bear Drive has provided thousands of stuffed animals to Rady Children’s Hospital. Every child visiting the emergency room, a hospital clinic, or admitted to the hospital is provided with a comfort teddy bear from the Drive. The Teddy Bear Drive also coordinates law enforcement hospital visits for children who get admitted and their families
Established in 1994, Shop With A Cop is an annual event that brightens the holiday spirit for children while building a rapport with the police. Hundreds of uniformed officers from over 30 different local, state, and federal agencies volunteer their time and partner with a deserving child selected from local schools for a fun-filled day of private animal shows at SeaWorld and a shopping spree at Target.
These programs, and STAR/PAL’s many others, offer the FBI the opportunity to connect with and help build the community that we serve.
Traditionally, DCLA recipients across the nation attend an awards ceremony held in Washington, DC, where they are recognized and honored by FBI Director Christopher Wray. Due to current COVID-19 related restrictions, this year’s ceremony was canceled, and awards were provided to the recipients by the local Special Agent in Charge.