Kent Police Cmdr. Grove receives chief’s excellence award

Honored for his work with the new Community Immersion Law Enforcement program

Kent Police Cmdr. Andy Grove, left, receives the Chief’s Award of Professional Excellence from Chief Rafael Padilla. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent Police

Kent Police Cmdr. Andy Grove, left, receives the Chief’s Award of Professional Excellence from Chief Rafael Padilla. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent Police

Kent Police Cmdr. Andy Grove recently received the Chief’s Award of Professional Excellence for his work with the new Community Immersion Law Enforcement program.

“It is no easy task to be tapped on the shoulder by a chief, who has a vision for a program that has never been done before,” according to an April 11 Kent Police statement about the honor. “Even harder when the task is of huge importance and requires hundreds of hours of work to accomplish. …but Cmdr. Grove made it happen.”

Grove earned the award for the complex, strategic, and dedicated work that he did to formulate, launch and manage the program.

Chief Rafael Padilla chose Grove in late 2020 to create and administer this revolutionary program involving new police recruits taking an active role in the community service prior to undertaking their initial police training. The intent of this immersion was to assign the recruits to a nonprofit community service organization to carry out day-to-day community service functions as part of their onboarding to the profession of law enforcement.

Community Immersion Law Enforcement is a pre-academy internship program. It’s the first of its kind in the United States, according to Kent Police. The recruits intern for 40 hour per week for eight weeks prior to attending the police academy. The focus of the program is to help strengthen police-community relationships, with particular attention placed on building relationships between Kent Police and communities of color.

From the summer of 2021 to the summer of 2022, Kent Police immersed 19 entry-level recruits into the community.

The University of Washington conducted a study to determine if the program was accomplishing its goals. At the close of its study, Grove was named by the researchers as the linchpin for the program’s success. In reading the study report, Grove’s efforts are clear throughout and it is evident that these efforts created the program’s success out of nearly thin air in many cases, according to a police statement.

“The length Cmdr. Grove went to ensure success are unparalleled and demonstrate both his work ethic and leadership,” according to police.

Grove has worked with the Kent Police since 2002 and has held assignments in Patrol, ProAct, Narcotics, Special Investigations, Crimes Against Persons and as a patrol sergeant, detective sergeant and partner of the FBI’s Innocence Lost Task Force.

In his current assignment, Grove oversees recruiting and hiring, training and is an active leader in the region’s anti-human trafficking efforts.

Grove is a graduate of the Washington police academy and has a bachelor of arts in social sciences. He is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Transformational Leadership at Seattle University.

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