After year off, Charlotte’s Police Community Relations Awards returning

Published: May. 12, 2021 at 6:24 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A select number of police officers, community members, and elected officials will be able to gather for the 41st Annual Police Community Relations Awards this Friday.

The annual event is part of National Police Week, a week dedicated to the service and sacrifice made by law enforcement officers across the country.

Each year, close to a dozen officers from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department are recognized for their actions in the community. Hundreds of people usually attend the awards show, but last year the event was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Donna Murrell, community relations specialist and supervisor for the City of Charlotte, has planned the event every year for the last 26 years. She was committed to making it happen this year.

“I’ve been with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations for 31 years and I love putting on this event. It’s just being able to see those officers recognized and honor them for what they do in the community being the boots on the ground in the neighborhood,” explained Murrell.

Murrell said this year’s awards ceremony will be smaller than the usual celebration, but it will still be able to accommodate the officers who are being recognized as well as their families.

“I could not go another year without recognizing these officers,” said Murrell.

CMPD officer Tom Hildebrand knows what it’s like to be honored at the awards ceremony. He spoke to WBTV in an interview Tuesday, explaining that he previously won an award for saving someone’s life.

“It was a person we found unresponsive and we just did CPR and to us we just took it as part of the job, nothing special you know. It’s just something that we’re called to do,” explained Hildebrand.

While helping people in distress is part of an officer’s job, Hildebrand admitted that being recognized for his work was a good feeling.

“It’s nice to have that acknowledgement and feel the support from other people and just know that you are supported in what you do, and we are doing good work out there,” said the officer.

Murrell encouraged community members to make the effort to meet the officers who patrol their neighborhood and get to know them.

“They are people too. They have a heart and we want to show them that we want to be part of their lives and we support what they do and we know that they are there doing what they need to do and protecting and serving Charlotte-Mecklenburg and we love that,” said Murrell.

The 41st Annual Police Community Relations Awards will be held Friday evening at the Palmer Building in east Charlotte. Murrell said the awards show will be recorded so that other officers and their families can watch the show later this month.

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