The Kern Council of Governments has announced their annual Regional Awards of Merit with the City of Tehachapi receiving two honors for 2018.
Tehachapi Police Chief Kent Kroeger was named the recipient of the ‘Richard A. Maxwell Regional Award of Merit for Public Safety’ and the City of Tehachapi received the Regional Award of Merit for Journalism for their popular community video series across the City’s social media platforms.
The Richard A. Maxwell Award for Public Safety recognizes Chief Kroeger and the Tehachapi Police Department for their innovative approach to police investigations. As a small department without the luxury of detectives, the Tehachapi Police Department empowers each officer with the training and authority to conduct their own investigations. With department oversight from a sergeant, every officer has a hand in solving a variety of criminal cases that are leading to convictions of offenders.
This approach, implemented by Chief Kroeger and executed brilliantly by his command staff and officers, creates a balanced approach to police work, a safer community and develops police officers in a manner that allows them to take ownership and pride in seeing a case to completion. One of the most-notable cases was the 2018 conviction of Jeffrey Dean Enslow, a case that had ties to Tehachapi and several other cities in the state. Through the work of the TPD officers and their counterparts in the Department of Homeland Security, Enslow was convicted in November of 18 counts including felony domestic violence, attempt to ignite an explosive with intent to terrorize and possession of materials to make an explosive device.
The ‘Regional Award of Merit for Journalism’ recognizes the City’s community videos series led by Community Engagement Specialist Key Budge. Each week in 2018 two videos were produced updating the community on various public and private projects, news items and things to do. These videos which feature different City staff depending on the content, were posted on the City’s Facebook and Instagram pages.
On Facebook, where the City has more followers than any other city in Kern County, the videos were viewed over 115,000 times, a 62% increase from video efforts in 2017. Additionally, the content was responsible for 32,000 minutes of viewing time this past year, up from just 11,000 minutes the year prior.
The Regional Awards of Merit will be presented as part of the Kern Council of Government’s annual awards ceremony on Thursday, March 7th in Bakersfield.