BRIDGEPORT, CONN. -- A Bridgeport police detective and a local high school student have been nominated as White House Champions of Change for helping make their city safer, according to the city’s police chief, Joseph Gaudett.
Detective Harold Dimbo and Bullard-Havens Technical High School student Akeem Douglas were proposed for the honor by Gaudett, who cited their work with the Bridgeport Young Adult Police Commissioners program.
Under the program, teen advisers serve as a bridge between police and the community, Gaudett said.
Dimbo, who has headed the commissioners for seven years, grew up in the city’s East End and is very familiar with some of the problems it faces, Gaudett said.
The killing of a friend by a drug dealer spurred Dimbo to become a police officer, Gaudett said. Dimbo has worked by the State Police’s anti-gang task force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the Drug Enforcement Agency.
As a detective, he has focused on homicide and gang activity and is a certified instructor on the topic.
Dimbo said that, although he has helped put a lot of gang members behind bars, he considers keeping kids out of gangs and out of jail the most important part of his work.
“It takes the whole community to create a bright future for our kids,” he said. “I’m proud of the work these young adults have done and it is an honor to be recognized alongside them.”
Calling Dimbo a “model police officer and mentor,” Gaudett said the program gives young people “another positive connection with law enforcement.” It helps keep them on “the right path to college and the workforce,” the police chief added.
Douglas joined the program as a sophomore at Bullard-Havens Technical High School “with a lot of skepticism and resistance,” said Gaudett.
Now a rising senior, he is a school leader and an “A student,” the chief said. And he has his eye on a college career at either UConn in Storrs, Conn., or Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I.
Calling Douglas a “role model,” Gaudett said he nominated him because “he embodies the positive work Bridgeport has done to bridge the gap between our law enforcement and our community.”
The Champions of Change program was created by the Obama administration as a way for the White House to feature individuals, businesses and organizations who have done extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.
“These students serve as role models and validate the hard work of our law enforcement,” said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. “These relationships have helped build trust in our community with the police which has had an immeasurable impact reducing crime and protecting our young adults.”
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