RACINE — The fourth annual Policeman’s Ball recognized some members of the community who don’t put on the blue uniform, but nonetheless contribute to making the community a safer place.
Racine Police Chief Art Howell said the City of Racine is heading toward a record low number of serious crimes in 2017, and statistics have been trending in that direction for the last four years.
“I don’t say that to amplify what we do. I say that to amplify what the community does in support of what we do,” Howell told the audience on Saturday night at Festival Hall, 5 Fifth St.
Two Community Policing Partner Awards were given to members of the community who have worked to help keep the crime rate down.
Racine native and NBA veteran Caron Bulter and his wife, Andrea — although not present at the event — were given one of the awards for their work to fund police-sponsored youth teams.
Howell said the department sponsors several youth teams for baseball, basketball, football and others, and the Butlers have given more than $100,000 “over the last couple of years” to help keep those programs going.
“These are the things that keep our young people engaged and off the street,” Howell said.
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Ahmad Qawi, vice president of the Racine YMCA, accepted the award on the Butlers’ behalf.
Fight to end human trafficking
Racine Dominican Sister Rose Marie Anthony of the Siena Center was also given a Community Policing Award for her work to end human trafficking in the Racine area.
Kari Hemming, executive director of the Fight to End Exploitation, said Anthony was significant in starting the organization.
“She really made it a priority to make sure human trafficking (issues) was on the forefront of our community,” Henning said. “I don’t know if we were so impressed that a nun was talking about pimps and Johns, or if we were excited about her passion. She really, really was inspiring and she’s been a mentor to me.”
Anthony was thankful to receive the award, but reminded the crowd that more work needs to be done on human trafficking.
“Get yourselves educated, educate others and then be sure that we can all work together and keep this thing out of the way, get it out of here,” Anthony said. “It’s a terrible, terrible problem in our area and we want it to be eliminated.”
Also at the ball, the Racine Community Foundation announced it will start a new K-9 Fund in support of future K-9 purchases and needs.