August 7, 2014
Motorola Solutions, NAWLEE Announce 2014 Woman Law Enforcement Executive of the Year
SCHAUMBURG, Ill. – Aug. 7, 2014 — Motorola Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MSI) is proud to announce that the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE) has selected Chief Saundra Rhodes of the Horry County Police Department (HCPD) for the “Woman Law Enforcement Executive of the Year (WoLEEY) Award.” The award is jointly sponsored by NAWLEE and Motorola.
The award was established twelve years ago by Jackie Wasni, vice president of Sales and Services for Motorola, to recognize women in law enforcement who have succeeded in their own careers and dedicated themselves to mentoring and helping develop other female law enforcement professionals.
Over the past 21 years, Chief Rhodes has worked in various roles, starting her career with the HCPD in 1993 as an undercover narcotics agent at night, while working as a substitute teacher during the day. She then served as a plain-clothes narcotics detective for three years, working her way through the ranks as sergeant, lieutenant and captain with the HCPD.
Of all the positions she has held, community policing has been Chief Rhodes’ favorite. Rhodes believes it is important that police departments have a strong relationship with the communities they serve, and that they assist the community in solving problems.
One of the first things that she did after taking office was to change the mission statement of the department to be community-focused. She recognized that officers were overwhelmed with high call volumes and could not focus on problem-solving, so she spearheaded an initiative to realign precinct lines to give officers more time between calls. She also created a street crimes unit to address gang violence and street level crimes. These changes boosted the morale of officers and dispatchers and continues to allow officers to get to know local citizens better.
Chief Rhodes is currently leading the HPCD through the process of becoming an accredited law enforcement agency in South Carolina. She knew that it would not be an easy task but wanted to ensure that department policies are in line with the best practices in law enforcement. As part of Chief Rhodes’ commitment to creating a workforce that reflects the people they serve, she revamped the recruiting program to aggressively recruit qualified minority and female candidates.
Chief Rhodes also restructured the Community Outreach Team (COT), which is dedicated to bridging the gap between the community and the HCPD. The COT attends numerous community events and develops creative ways for the HCPD to have a positive impact in the community. One of the programs is an annual event in which police officers take children, identified by the school district as at-risk or underprivileged, to shop at local Walmart stores during the Christmas season.
The first African-American and female Police Chief of the HCPD, Chief Rhodes holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina in Criminal Justice and a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati. Additionally, she has been a Criminal Justice Adjunct Professor since 2009 at Horry Georgetown Technical College.
Chief Rhodes will receive the award at the annual NAWLEE conference held in Tucson, Arizona on Aug. 7, 2014, with more than 200 public safety leaders from across the U.S. in attendance.
Chief Saundra Rhodes, Horry County Police Department
"It is a great pleasure to serve the community in my current role within law enforcement. I feel extremely honored to be selected for the NAWLEE award. Community policing is something very near and dear to my heart and requires our agency to work closely together to bridge the gap between the community and HCPD. I am privileged to work daily alongside a team of such talented individuals.”
Jackie Wasni, vice president of Sales and Services, Motorola Solutions
"Chief Rhodes’ has worked closely with the people of Horry County to improve police training, response times and opportunities for minorities and women within the HCPD. We thank her for her commitment to law enforcement as she continues to help keep cities safer. It is with our deepest gratitude that Chief Rhodes receives this well-deserved award."
The National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE) is the first organization established to address the unique needs of women holding senior management positions in law enforcement. NAWLEE is a non-profit organization sponsored and administered directly by law enforcement practitioners. Its mission is to serve and further the interests of women executives and those who aspire to be executives in law enforcement. For more information, please visit http://www.nawlee.com.
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