Brownlee, Whitmore receive Outstanding Contribution to Law Enforcement Awards
August 13, 2008 | VACP
Virginia's police chiefs presented The Honorable John L. Brownlee with the 2008 Award for Outstanding Contribution to Law Enforcement With Distinction on August 19, 2008 at the Annual Conference in Hot Springs. Ms. Amy L. Whitmore, Virginia State Police, also was announced as a recipient.
The Honorable John L. Brownlee, former United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, was honored on August 19, 2008, with the VACP/VPCF Outstanding Contribution to Law Enforcement Award. The award was presented during the Valor Awards Banquet at the VACP Annual Conference. The Outstanding Contribution to Law Enforcement Award recognizes one person’s conspicuous act or achievement in the performance of a duty that results in an exceptional and responsible contribution to law enforcement.
Mr. Brownlee was nominated for the award by the Blue Ridge Association of Chiefs of Police. “Virginia’s law enforcement community has no better friend than John Brownlee,” said VACP President Chief Ray Lavinder. “John has been a true leader for law enforcement in Virginia for many years, and we are honored to present this prestigious award to him. Virginians are safer today because of John Brownlee’s outstanding work.”
During Mr. Brownlee’s nearly seven years as United States Attorney, he worked closely with law enforcement agencies in the Western District and across Virginia to address violent crime and drug trafficking problems. Since 2004, Brownlee awarded more than $1.2 million in Project Safe Neighborhoods and Anti-Gang grant funds to police departments, sheriff’s offices, Commonwealth’s Attorneys, faith based organizations, and youth risk prevention programs to address gang and illegal drug related crimes in numerous communities throughout Virginia.
For more than 20 years, John Brownlee has served America and Virginia as a soldier, local prosecutor, and as the United States Attorney. He has earned a reputation as a tough and dedicated crime fighter who has vigorously fought for justice. In May 2007, Brownlee and Attorney General Bob McDonnell convicted The Purdue Frederick Company and its top executives of illegally misbranding their pain medicine OxyContin. The company and its executives paid over $634 million in fines, and the executives were placed on 3 years probation and ordered to perform 400 hours of community service. The settlement was one of the largest financial penalties ever imposed on a drug company.
In January 2005, Brownlee convicted Brent Simmons, who had murdered two James Madison University students in 1995. Brownlee developed a novel legal theory by using the Violence Against Women’s Act, which had been enacted only 13 days prior to the murders, and federal firearms charges to convict Simmons and bring justice to the victim’s families. Simmons was sentenced to life imprisonment with no chance of release.
Ms. Amy L. Whitmore of the Virginia State Police was honored on August 18, 2008 with the VACP/VPCF Outstanding Contribution to Law Enforcement Award. (Due to a scheduling conflict, Ms. Whitmore was unable to attend. The award was presented to Lt. Colonel Bob Northern of the Virginia State Police during Opening Ceremonies of the VACP Annual Conference.) The Outstanding Contribution to Law Enforcement Award recognizes one person’s conspicuous act or achievement in the performance of a duty that results in an exceptional and responsible contribution to law enforcement.
In the fall of 2004, Ms. Whitmore was selected to participate with other representatives of the Virginia State Police to organize and put into motion the concept for the Virginia Fusion Center (VFC.) During this time, Ms. Whitmore was instrumental in formatting and implementing the primary mission of the Center, standard operational procedures, logistical planning, personnel responsibilities and training requirements, along with equipment and funding.
Since the Fusion Center concept was not locally or nationally known, partnerships had to be created to ensure success. In order to create these partnerships, Ms. Whitmore was tasked with reaching out to the Department of Emergency Management, Virginia National Guard, Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation to incorporate these partners within the VFC.
In addition, Ms. Whitmore assisted in an outreach program that garnered participation with other state agencies with a homeland security mission, private industry, and other local, state and federal agencies. In 32 months, the Virginia Fusion Center has grown from three positions to 30 full-time positions, eight FBI positions that are rotational and two positions from Virginia Dominion Power.
In an effort to strengthen the analytical component of the Virginia Fusion Center, Ms. Whitmore was able to identify and secure grant funding that allowed the analysts and agents assigned to the VFC the opportunity to attend training that would not have been available without this funding source. Not only did this funding source provide the needed training for personnel assigned to the VFC, Ms. Whitmore also understood the importance of offering training to other local, state and federal partners and she coordinated several training opportunities for these agencies. In order for any intelligence unit to be successful, trusted relationships must be built, and Ms. Whitmore has been an integral part of creating these trusted relationships.
Through Ms. Whitmore's direction and dedication, the VFC consistently works to coordinate and integrate information sharing among the seeming endless groups of federal, state and local homeland security partners. The VFC has been transformed into a nationally recognized leader in the intelligence community through Ms. Whitmore's choreographing. Ms. Whitmore has become an expert in her field, and because of this, Ms. Whitmore has provided testimony regarding information sharing to the Congressional Homeland Security's subcommittee on Intelligence, Information sharing, and terrorism Risk assessment. In addition, Ms. Whitmore has participated in several local and national workgroups relating to information sharing and her participation with these groups has helped create an information-sharing environment within the Commonwealth and the nation.
Ms. Whitmore is a valuable asset to the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Department of State Police, the VFC, and our homeland security neighbors. Her leadership, commitment, dedication and passion for her job are the driving forces behind the success we all share as part of the VFC. The VFC is a tremendous success story for the Department of State Police and this success would not have happened if not for Amy Whitmore's contribution. Ms. Whitmore is a true ambassador for the Virginia Fusion Center.
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The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is a statewide organization of federal, state and local police chiefs and law enforcement executives dedicated to improving the professionalism of police agencies in Virginia. The Association was founded in 1926 and has more than 600 members. The Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation is a charitable educational foundation created by the VACP to provide training and education programs for law enforcement executives.