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And the Winner Is…

ANAHEIM – The Chula Vista Police Department on Wednesday won the Herman Goldstein Award for excellence in Problem-Oriented Policing for a multi-year effort to clean up the city’s crime-ridden motels.

Chula Vista Winners

Goldstein winners Karin Schmerler, Don Hunter and David Eisenberg with APD Chief John Welter

But CVPD wasn’t the only winner at the 20th annual International Problem-Oriented Policing Conference at the Disneyland Hotel. Dozens of Anaheim police officers and executives made important connections and heard the latest in crime-solving theory from top law enforcement officials and academics.

The three-day conference ended with a short ceremony honoring the top examples of creative police problem solving. APD was a finalist in 2007 for its effort to solve community issues at “The Boogie!” nightclub.

This year’s finalists included police agencies from as far away as England. One project involved the elimination of an open-air drug market in New York; another was the reduction of vehicle thefts in Winnipeg, Canada.

Herman Goldstein, the University of Wisconsin professor for whom the award is named, said each finalist demonstrated the effectiveness of combining in-depth data analysis with intelligent problem-solving techniques.

“It is very uplifting to see this body of work, and I am very proud of what each of you have accomplished,” he said.

The effort to clean up Chula Vista’s motels began in 2003. At the time, the city’s motels were the settings for the majority of drug sales and assaults in the city.

Years of crime and data analysis, research and working with motel owners led to a new permit-to-operate ordinance that resulted in remarkable improvements.

Calls for police service dropped by 45 percent; drugs arrests dipped by 40 percent and overall motel crime plummeted by 68 percent.

The department shares its story on its Web site – and has authored a Problem-Oriented Policing guide titled “Disorder at Budget Motels.”