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The original item was published from 1/18/2017 4:10:00 PM to 1/20/2017 5:05:02 PM.

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Roanoke News

Posted on: January 18, 2017

[ARCHIVED] Havard Ash Center Recognizes Roanoke Police Programs as Bright Ideas

Roanoke, VA – The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, today recognized the City of Roanoke's Citizen-Centric Policing Model and its Growth Through Opportunity (GTO) Cadet Program as part of its 2017 Bright Ideas initiative, which honors innovative public programs from across the country striving to improve services, solve problems, and work on behalf of citizens.

The Roanoke Police Department implemented a citizen-centric policing model built on the four tenets of procedural justice: citizen voice, fairness and neutrality, dignity, and respect. Combining this policing philosophy with a major organizational change emphasizing autonomy and more lateral decision-making, the department is moving forward with greater transparency and citizen engagement. The GTO Cadet Program was designed to give adults with special needs the opportunity to receive career training and life skills as they transition to gaining independence. Participants can volunteer for up to 12 hours a week as support staff for the Roanoke Police Department, Roanoke Fire-EMS Department and Sheriff’s Office. 

“The Roanoke Police Department is pleased for its programs to be featured in the 2017 Bright Ideas Initiative,” said Roanoke Police Chief Tim Jones. “This recognition underscores the value of policing through practices based in procedural justice and transparency. The women and men of this organization have made this philosophy possible through their daily practices of community engagement facilitating community voice, fairness, neutrality, dignity and respect.  In addition the Growth Through Opportunity Cadet Program has been equally valuable as we share in the lives and development of young adults in our community who do not let unique challenges become lifelong obstacles to success. We in public safety learn and grow with them through this experience.  The GTO Cadet Program and those that serve it are certainly deserving of the acclaim bestowed by the Ash Center and I challenge other communities to adopt this model.”

“Bright Idea honorees demonstrate that there are no prerequisites for doing the good work of governing,” said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in American Government Program at the Ash Center, “small towns and massive cities, huge federal agencies and local school districts, large budgets or no budgets at all — what makes government work best is the drive to do better, and this group proves that drive can be found anywhere.”

This is the fifth cohort recognized through the Bright Ideas program, an initiative of the broader Innovations in American Government Awards program. For consideration as a Bright Idea, programs must currently be in operation or in the process of launching, have sufficient operational resources, and must be administered by one or more governmental entities; nonprofit, private sector, and union initiatives are eligible if operating in partnership with a governmental organization. Bright Ideas are showcased on the Ash Center’s Government Innovators Network, an online platform for practitioners and policymakers to share innovative public policy solutions.

Visit the Government Innovators Network at for the full list of Bright Ideas programs, and for more information regarding the Innovations in American Government Awards.

For more information, contact:

Scott Leamon

Crime Prevention Specialist/Community Outreach

Roanoke Police Department


Daniel Harsha

Associate Director for Communications, Ash Center


About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, education, international programs, and government innovations awards, the Center fosters creative and effective government problem solving and serves as a catalyst for addressing many of the most pressing needs of the world’s citizens. For more information, visit


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