Blog | August 8, 2022

The 2022 Champion for Kids Award

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids members going above and beyond to improve the lives of our nation's children

This year we recognized six Fight Crime: Invest in Kids members who have shown a notable commitment to promoting solutions that help kids succeed in life and steer clear of crime. Congratulations to Lewis & Clark County, MT Sheriff Leo Dutton, Augusta, ME Police Department Chief Jared Mills, Fayetteville County, OH Sheriff Vernon Stanforth, Oldham County, KY Sheriff Steve Sparrow, Anoka County, MN Sheriff James Stuart, and Santa Barbara County, CA District Attorney Joyce Dudley on receiving this year’s Champion for Kids Awards.


District Attorney Joyce Dudley, Santa Barbara County, CA

Joyce E. Dudley

District Attorney Dudley has been a Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member for over 10 years and has been a consistent champion in our mission to increase the chances that young people are set up for healthy and successful lives. She has helped Fight Crime: Invest in Kids to reach lawmakers in Sacramento to make sure that they know how important it is to make up-front investments in our kids to keep our communities safe. District Attorney Dudley received this award at the Fight Crime: Invest in Kids 25th Anniversary Reception at the National District Attorneys Association’s Summer Summit in Denver, CO.


Sheriff Leo Dutton, Lewis & Clark County, MT

Sheriff Leo Dutton

Sheriff Leo Dutton has been a member of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids for 14 years and has shown extraordinary commitment and leadership in the effort to prevent crime through investments in early intervention and prevention programs that help give kids the right start in life. Most recently, Sheriff Dutton was featured in our national pre-k report release on the benefits of early childhood education, saying “pre-K doesn’t tell them what they’re going to believe or how to think, but it helps them get integrated into a society where they can follow the rules.” Sheriff Dutton received this award at the Western States Sheriffs Association’s Annual Meeting and Training Session in Reno, NV.


Chief Jared Mills, Augusta Police Department, ME

Chief Jared Mills

Chief Mills, who is also serving as the President of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, has been a member of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids since 2014. In his time as a member, Chief Mills has been a leading voice on early care and education programs that help put more young children on a path to success in life and in school. Chief Mills has testified in the Maine State House several times, authored earned media, and continued to be a leader with his law enforcement peers in Maine. He has led recruitment efforts for Fight Crime: Invest In Kids and has helped gain support on letters to legislators in support of top public policy issues from his fellow Maine law enforcement leader colleagues.


Sheriff Steve Sparrow, Oldham County, KY

Sheriff Steve Sparrow

Sheriff Sparrow joined Fight Crime: Invest in Kids 15 years ago and has shown a passion for ensuring the next generation grows up healthy, well-educated, and ready to lead successful lives. From signing letters to legislators, to coming out to Washington, DC to meet with members of Congress including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell from his home state, his support has improved the lives of kids in his state and across the country. Sheriff Sparrow received this award at the National Sheriffs Association Conference in Kansas City, MO during the Youth Programs & Juvenile Justice Committee meeting which Sheriff Sparrow chairs.


Sheriff Vernon Stanforth, Fayetteville County, OH

Sheriff Vernon Stanforth

Sheriff Vernon Stanforth is a true Champion for Kids. For over 20 years, he has given his time, relationships and credibility to ensure both federal and state policymakers fully understand the value of investing in high quality early learning programs.Sheriff Stanforth received this award at the National Sheriffs Association Conference in Kansas City, MO.


Sheriff James Stuart, Anoka County, MN

Sheriff James Stuart

Sheriff Stuart became a member of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids 11 years ago, soon after he took office in Anoka County. He’s served as the Minnesota state co-chair for Fight Crime: Invest in Kids and truly has been a champion of our organization throughout his time as a member. He has met with a countless number of legislators, both with members of Congress and with state legislators, signed several letters, promoted early childhood and afterschool programs, and helped us recruit other law enforcement leaders to join Fight Crime: Invest in Kids. Sheriff Stuart received this award at the National Sheriffs Association Conference in Kansas City, MO.

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