By Joe Beck
Only 30 people in the United States have been designated as a National Crime Prevention Specialist II, and Janice Hart of the Front Royal Police Department recently became one of them.
Hart, 60, will be honored at the Front Royal Town Council meeting Monday to mark the certification she obtained from the National Crime Prevention Association. The certification recognizes crime prevention specialists for the education, training, experience and commitment they bring to their jobs and communities.
Hart, who joined the department in July 2007 as a civilian employee, said the certification process required her to fill out an application she estimates to have been 75 or 80 pages.
"It's a huge undertaking," she said, but the earned recognition is worth it.
"I'm really grateful I had the opportunity to do this, and I had the support of the department," Hart said. "To have the department believe in you and support you is really very special."
Hart has launched or continued 28 wide-ranging crime prevention programs in her 39-hour a week job as a community relations specialist. Her efforts include: a bicycle rodeo; holiday safety tips; national night out; the annual police open house; school tours of the police station and monthly crime prevention presentations at the Senior Center.
She received her introduction to police work in February 2002 when she graduated from the second Citizen's Police Academy conducted by the department, an annual program that introduces its participants to police personnel and activities.
She said she enjoyed the academy so much she repeated it the following year. Her obvious fascination with the department earned her an appointment by then-Chief Ronald Ricucci to the chief's advisory board. In 2005, she was appointed coordinator of the department's volunteer program, which she developed into a 40-member team.
She has also completed a long list of training programs, including 16 hours of instructor training in the National Rifle Association Refuse to be a Victim initiative and 40 hours in basic law enforcement instructor training.
While Hart is proud of the recognition she is receiving for the expertise she has developed over the years, her greatest job satisfaction comes from spreading her knowledge throughout the town.
"The best part is all the people I get to work with out in the community," she said.