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King City wins statewide award for public safety

City recognized for its Comprehensive Plan to End Youth Violence

KING CITY — The City of King has won the 2019 Helen Putnam Award in the public safety category for its Comprehensive Plan to End Youth Violence, announced the League of California Cities at its annual conference in October.

This year’s award winners were honored Oct. 16 during the opening session of the League’s Annual Conference and Expo at the Long Beach Convention Center, where more than 2,000 officials from cities across California were in attendance. King City Mayor Mike LeBarre accepted the award on behalf of the City at the ceremony.

“We are honored to receive the Helen Putnam award for our community’s Comprehensive Plan to End Youth Violence, and I am extremely proud of the results,” LeBarre said in a statement. “This award highlights that when you work as a team and prioritize the community’s needs, great change can be achieved. Together we made our city safer and improved our quality of life.”

Facing several years of major gang violence problems, the King City Council appointed a 23-member community task force in 2016 to develop a comprehensive and proactive approach to address youth violence — now known as the Comprehensive Plan to End Youth Violence. The plan includes 24 measures under the categories of prevention, intervention, enforcement, re-entry and public outreach.

Within the first year and a half, the City implemented 19 of the measures through a series of partnerships, including an extensive after-school program, youth diversion program, citywide security camera system, major crimes unit, on-campus probation officer program, drug and alcohol recovery center and district officer and block party programs.

As a result, the city has experienced a substantial drop in crime, with shootings decreasing from 32 in 2017 to one in 2018 to none so far this year.

“It’s a great honor and really nice for the City to get this recognition because it has been such a community-wide effort,” said City Manager Steve Adams. “It’s also a great way to show the state that King City is a different place now with a more responsive government and an improved quality of life.”

Established in 1982 by the League of California Cities, the Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program recognizes the outstanding achievements of the state’s 482 cities. According to the League, “Winning cities have made unique contributions to community residents and businesses, contributions which have resulted in lower costs or more effective delivery of services.”

The award is given annually in 12 categories: CCS Partnership Intergovernmental Collaboration; Community Services and Economic Development; Economic Development Through the Arts; Enhancing Public Trust, Ethics and Community Involvement; Health and Wellness Programs; Housing Programs and Innovations; Internal Administration; League Partners Award for Excellence in City-Business Relations; Planning and Environmental Quality; Public Safety; Public Works, Infrastructure and Transportation; and the Ruth Vreeland Award for Engaging Youth in City Government.

Of this year’s 168 submissions, the City of King and 11 other city governments were recognized for their outstanding programs.

Ryan Cronk
Ryan Cronk
Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for the Salinas Valley newspapers King City Rustler, Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers education, government and general news for the cities of King City and Greenfield and occasionally for the surrounding communities in south Monterey County.
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