Al Eskanazy, president and CEO of the Community-Police Relations Foundation, was recently recognized as Citizen of the Year at the South Florida Police Benevolent Association’s annual law enforcement awards gala. The event celebrates officers, remembers those who have fallen and stands in solidarity with the surviving family members they left behind. The annual gala is a formal event that includes a seated dinner, awards ceremony, live music and dancing. He is attended by approximately 1,000 guests including law enforcement officers and their families, state officials and local government leaders, members of the judiciary and South Florida residents.
“When it came time for us to select our Citizen of the Year, no one was more appropriate than Al Eskanazy. He went out of his way not only to support our organization but also to many others organizations that support our first responders who are going through difficult times and financial hardship. CPRF is here to help others through very difficult times and we thank Al for being a champion with the law enforcement community It’s our way of showing that his generosity hasn’t gone unnoticed,” said Steadman Stahl, president of the South Florida Police Benevolent Association.
Following recent incidents involving the use of force by the police, the legitimacy of the police has been questioned in many communities. Many cities across the United States experienced large-scale demonstrations and protest marches in 2014 and 2015, and in some cases there were riots over perceptions of police misconduct and excessive use of the strength.
Al set out to change this paradigm and improve the perception of our police officers within our communities. He sought to resolve the social and moral conflicts of the time by adopting the pragmatic approach of having police officers interact socially with the communities they serve. Finding opportunities to engage with community members in a non-law enforcement context helped to reduce bias among community members and law enforcement officers. The personal interaction between officers and community members also built trust and familiarity, which is essential for solving neighborhood problems and reducing crime.
Community-Police Relations Foundation (CPRF) was established in 2018 to improve relationships within communities by facilitating positive interactions with uniformed police officers. The goal is to reassure our communities that law enforcement officers are working to keep our communities safe. CPRF works to build trust and build respect in communities from Miami to New York, and from Camden New Jersey and Chicago to Los Angeles. Over the past four years, the Foundation has supported numerous initiatives aimed at creating a unified and harmonious relationship between law enforcement and the communities served. Initiatives include food for individuals and families in inner-city neighborhoods, mentoring for school-aged youth, police involvement in youth sports, awarding scholarships to graduate students, mental health training for police officers and spouses, supporting the fight against human trafficking and abuse, preventing animal cruelty and funding holiday festivities.
To learn more about CPRF, visit www.cprfcharity.org.
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