Kristy Kernen has been a dedicated member of the community and a volunteer for the Lakewood Police Department since city incorporation 11 years ago. She is personally responsible for recruiting, training and managing one of the most active volunteer programs in the city. She has also been able to provide support to police departments in other Washington cities as well as the Anaheim, CA Police Department. Kristy's personal efforts and that of her Disabled Parking Enforcement team have virtually eliminated citizen complaints about illegal parking in disabled parking zones, once one of the most frequent complaints made to the Department. Her team provides great service to the community in the areas of traffic safety and disabled parking laws by providing education, prevention and awareness, in addition to their enforcement efforts.
Kristy has also played a crucial role in promoting the importance of having citizen volunteers as core members of this new Department's team, which is just three years old. Paid employees do not always see the value of volunteers, viewing them as a distraction. Kristy has been instrumental in dispelling those perceptions in the Department and has devoted over 3,800 hours of volunteer time to the department since its formation. She and her team of traffic volunteers free the paid officers to devote themselves to other important law enforcement activities. In addition, they provide the disabled and vulnerable citizens a level of service they would not otherwise receive. She also willingly volunteers in numerous other areas such as National Night Out Against Crime, the Department Volunteer Recognition competition.
Finally, wearing her "citizen" hat, she routinely reports to our City Council on the many outreach activities in which the Department engages and the exceptional service the Department is providing Lakewood citizens. For all of these reasons she is deeply appreciated. Moreover, her leadership, work ethic, dedication to the City and the Department, and engaging, positive "can-do" attitude have been primary in selling the entire police volunteer program – an essential component of the core community policing philosophy. She is central to the fact that the Department now engages over 50 citizens in the volunteer work.