December 5, 2017

2017 Recipients of the Jim Howes Community Service Award

Today the City Council honored two very deserving individuals for their service to the community. Please join us in congratulating the 2017 winners of the Officer Jim Howes Community Service Award - Julie Schneider and Chip.
About Julie Schneider – City Employee Recipient
Julie has worked as a Victim’s Advocate for the City for nearly 28 years. Collaborating with the police department, Julie helps victims from their first interaction with law enforcement until their case ends. In this role, Julie comes into people’s lives when things have gone horribly wrong and helps them navigate the criminal justice system. From walking through a homicide scene to console a distraught family member, to sitting on the floor with a shell-shocked sexual assault victim to reassure them of their safety, to helping a rookie police officer talk with a domestic violence victim, Julie has done it all. Part counselor, mentor and bulldog, Julie walks victims and their families through police procedures, courtroom protocol and legal jargon used in their cases. She is an adamant defender of victims’ rights and passionately works to ensure those rights are honored by the justice system. Julie’s knowledge and understanding of victims’ rights has been essential in building trust and cooperation between the community, the police department and the justice system.

About Chip – Community Recipient
As Executive Director of the Downtown Association for nearly a decade, Chip has been a tireless champion and advocate for Santa Cruz’s Downtown. Chip is also a valued and active participant in city government, regularly attending Council and Commission meetings to speak about policies and to offer ideas on behalf of Downtown interests. Against this backdrop of community-oriented efforts, Chip took up an extraordinary project to help our community. After visiting a program in San Jose called Downtown Streets Team, a homeless service program focused on jobs and community benefit, Chip became a champion of bringing this program to Santa Cruz. In addition to organizing tours for city leadership and promoting the program in professional and personal meetings, Chip took up a personal challenge: he personally set out to raise $50,000 to support the program coming to Santa Cruz. With the $50,000 matching funds from Chip, the City provided the balance and now the Downtown Streets Team is up and running and making a profound difference in the cleanliness of our City and to help those most in need attain a job, job training and other support. Chip was the lynchpin in bringing the Downtown Streets Team to Santa Cruz, and this was accomplished above and beyond his ongoing, excellent work on behalf of our Downtown.

The Jim Howes Award is given annually to community members and City employees for outstanding service to the Santa Cruz community, and was created in honor of Officer Jim Howes, who retired in 2007 after serving as a Santa Cruz Police Officer for 26 years. Officer Howes was known throughout the City for his positive approach in relationship-building between the City and Santa Cruz community.

Deputy Chief Martinez with SCPD Victim Advocate Julie Schneider