6/1/2017 4:28:00 PM Trudeau Law Enforcement Award goes to Wyoming police officer
Wyoming Police Officer Rachel Columbus has been selected to receive the 2016 James Trudeau Law Enforcement Award. This award is given annually to one law enforcement officer in recognition of outstanding dedication and service to youth in our community. Officer Columbus was nominated by Wyoming Elementary fifth grade teacher, Amanda Vinzant, who said, “Officer Columbus is a great role model and a positive reflection of the police in the community.” Columbus graduated from Bemidji State University in 2004 and joined the Wyoming Police Department in 2006.
The inspiration for this nomination is Officer Columbus’s development of the Police Educating Area Kids (PEAK) program for local 5th graders in 2013. Columbus states, “When the DARE program changed its focus, I thought it was the perfect time to come up with a similar program but one that only focused on drugs and alcohol instead of life skills. I felt that the parents of the children would be much better suited for teaching their kids about being strong and confident and the school already has an excellent anti-bullying program in place.
“Through PEAK, the students can get the real life stories of the negative impact of drugs and alcohol that police officers see on a daily basis right here in our small town of Wyoming. I love sharing some of the more entertaining aspects of my job with this group of kids and they have endless questions.”
Officer Columbus’s engagement with the community runs far beyond her job on patrol and her PEAK activities. She is trained for interviewing young children in physical and/or sexual abuse situations and she monitors predatory offenders to ensure compliance with city ordinances. Officer Columbus says, “The Wyoming Police Department loves the community we work for and I personally find special joy in interacting with the kids in our community, whether it is giving high fives while on patrol or working with our child protection unit. My goal is to protect the children in our area and show them they can turn to us if they ever have a problem.”
Officer Columbus is married to John, and they have three children, ages 2, 4, and 7, which no doubt inspires her dedication for keeping kids safe. Columbus says, “I am grateful to receive the James Trudeau award and am honored to receive an award that tributes a fellow police officer who did many great things in law enforcement like Jim Trudeau.”
The late Trudeau, the founder of Lakes Center for Youth and Families, had 35 plus years in law enforcement and was a retired Washington County Sheriff, past Forest Lake Police Chief, and past Sheriff’s Association Executive Director. Congratulations to Officer Columbus on this well-deserved award and recognition and thank you.