This year the Charitable Foundation Science and Innovation Award received eight nominations for programs, projects, products, and individuals.  Since the purpose of this award is to recognize and promote creative thinking and problem-solving, it is worthwhile to share each nomination.  Maybe a project or program can be replicated in your agency or community; maybe it can be adapted to fit your unique needs; or maybe it will spark a totally new idea that you can put to work.

Every one of these nominations is worthy of the spirit of our award.

The 2020 award winner is the Shakopee, Minnesota Police Department.

Chief Tate receiving the FBINAA Charitable Foundation Science and Innovation Award, pictured with City of Shakopee (MN) Mayor Bill Mars.
Chief Tate accepted the award on behalf of the Shakopee Police Department during a recent council meeting.

Fraudulent Gift Card Initiative – Shakopee, MN

Shakopee, Minnesota is a city of 41,000 population with major tourism attractions and many retail businesses.   In the five years prior to 2019, crimes of fraud were among the top three offenses reported to police.   A large part of the problem was fraudulent purchase of third-party gift cards, resulting in significant loss for the retail community. 

In 2018, the Shakopee Police Department devised a plan to attack the problem of fraudulent third-party gift cards by drafting and promoting a city ordinance.  The department contacted all 34 local businesses which would be impacted and solicited their participation.  Despite initial opposition from large national retailers, the department determined to push ahead.  They also enlisted the local Chamber of Commerce and the Minnesota Retailers Association as part of the coalition.  As a group, the police department and all the other stakeholders – including the national big box stores - worked through the issues and drafted a city ordinance for consideration by the Shakopee City Council.  This effort consumed an entire year.     

In June 2019, the Shakopee Police Department presented the draft ordinance to the City Council.  Because of the groundwork laid by the department and its partners, the ordinance was adopted by a unanimous vote as a consensus item.  It is worth noting that the ordinance is the first of its kind in the nation, as far as can be determined.  It is aimed at curbing the fraudulent purchases of loadable, third-party gift cards from credit card companies. The ordinance prohibits any purchase of gift cards at a self-checkout kiosk, and it also requires anyone using a credit card to purchase a loadable, third-party gift card from either Visa, American Express, or Mastercard to show a government issued photo ID matching the name on the credit card being used to purchase the gift card.

In the first year, the ordinance has eliminated nearly 99% of these frauds in the community.  In another great cooperative effort, the department worked with Shakopee High School students to evaluate the program and survey impacted businesses as the one-year mark approached. The results demonstrated great support from local businesses and showed a drastic reduction in these types of frauds, with only one case violating the ordinance since its passage.  It is estimated to have saved victim businesses some $25,000 in losses, and the department notes it has saved $28,000 in officer time spent investigating these crimes.

The Foundation recognizes the very patient, creative, and collaborative problem-solving approach used by the Shakopee Police Department before, during, and after the adoption of the fraudulent gift card ordinance.  The results speak for themselves.

For more information:  Chief Jeff Tate          


Here is brief summary of the remaining seven nominees, in alphabetical order, with contact information.

Accurint Virtual Crime Center Nationwide Public Safety Data Exchange – Washington, DC

Accurint Virtual Crime Center, a LexisNexis program, combines the power of public records with nationwide law enforcement data in a cross-jurisdictional public safety data exchange.  The program links public records information with public safety RMS data from law enforcement in a CJIS secure data exchange.  A Google-like search returns identity matches with 99.99% certainty.  Investigators and analysts can make queries nationwide, tailoring those searches to be most relevant for their needs.  Patrol officers can have more information about a subject before ever contacting the individual.

For more information:  Jennifer Safir            

Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training – AZPOST, Phoenix, AZ

Compliance Specialist Cindy Sawyer, a retired sheriff’s lieutenant, has vastly improved programs and processes within AZPOST, working collaboratively with many stakeholders.  She has brought her experience, creativity, and interpersonal skills to the organization in a wide variety of ways:  devising new procedures and training new staff in compliance audits; working with IT to build a new AZPOST Personal History form and database online; and assisting in the development of POST training to assist first responders with daily stresses, to name only a few.

For more information:  Mandy Faust             


BolaWrap 100 Remote Restraint Device – Tempe, AZ

The BolaWrap is a remote restraint device designed to restrict a subject's mobility from a distance of 10 to 25 feet. The device was developed by award winning inventor Woody Norris as a tool specifically meant to be used by first responders to deescalate a situation involving someone in a mental health crisis, narcotic induced psychosis or are merely passively resistant. The BolaWrap fills the gap in police use of force tools between verbal commands and pain compliance tools, and it is currently in use by over 160 law enforcement agencies in 41 states.

For more information:  Mike Rothans           


Digital Evidence Management – South Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

AXON’s Digital Evidence Management System allows law enforcement to receive, upload, download, and manage all types of digital evidence:  audio files, videos, photos, and the like, making them sharable with prosecutors and other law enforcement agencies.  Digital files are seamlessly transmitted in real time from the field, victims, witnesses, and citizens at large, creating efficiency for field officers and saving scarce dollars spent on portable storage devices.

For more information:  Chief Andrew Fletcher          


Forensic Photo Processing for Identification – Irving, TX PD

Investigator Michael Pihl has pioneered new forensic techniques to examine pictures found on seized cell phones.  Among his unique uses of forensic software, he has cropped, flipped, and inverted colors to reveal major details in these photos.  His work has been successful in identifying weapons, suspects, and victims.  Inv. Pihl now teaches these techniques to new officers and he will present his methods at a major forensic science symposium in the Dallas area.

For more information:  Commander Kirk LeCroy      


ODMAP – Overdose Mapping – Washington/Baltimore HIDTA

W/B HIDTA developed the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program to serve as a collaborative and centralized platform for all disciplines responding to the threat of increasingly lethal drug overdoses.  ODMAP allows law enforcement, EMS, fire, hospitals, and medical examiners to enter suspected overdoses in near real time.  Spike information is used to address both current situations and as early warning for nearby areas.  The program is in use in 49 states, DC, and Puerto Rico, and it has demonstrably led to a reduction in overdose deaths in many jurisdictions.

For more information:  Assistant Chief Brian Gould 


Pan Dulce with the Police – Trinity University PD, San Antonio, TX

“Coffee with a Cop” has become a widely used and successful tool for promoting positive interactions between law enforcement and community members.  The Police Department at Trinity University in San Antonio has taken the concept a step farther, offering a popular regional dish, pan dulce, in partnership with a local bakery.  Pan dulce is a sweet Mexican bread common in local culture.  In the university setting it also serves as an introduction to the southwestern culture for students from other regions of the US and international students as well.  The simple change from the stereotypical donut has generated positive feedback from students and faculty.

For more information:  Sgt. Clint Ratliff       


Thank you to the NA members who served on the 2020 selection committee:  Bill Berger, Florida; Larry Dyess, Louisiana; Nick Onken, New Mexico; and Craig Petersen, Mississippi.   


To learn more about the FBINAA Charitable Foundation and the Science and Innovation Award, please visit our website at

Thank you,
Steve Cox, Vice-Chair
FBINAA Charitable Foundation


Please visit our website  where you will find more information on our history, services offered to our members, and ways you can assist the Charitable Foundation reach the million dollar goal.