Lakewood Police Chief Larry Saunders and Sergeant Bryan Norton nominated Officer Lee for the Caught in the Act award. Every year, Officer Lee organizes, raises funds, and hosts the Korean-American Youth Summer Camp. It is the only youth camp for the Korean community run by a law enforcement agency in Washington State. This is its third year. In 2005, over 50 junior and senior high students attended this program. In 2006, the numbers grew to over 70, and in 2007, over 80 kids attended the camp. The camp’s curriculum includes over 11 hours of instruction and activities which includes criminal law, traffic safety, conducting low and high risk vehicle stops, street racing and road rage prevention, K-9 and SWAT demonstrations, CSI, a gang awareness training and workshop, calling 911, and the LPD Police Explorer program presentation. The Korean-American Police Advisory Group (KAPAG) provides lunch, Camp T-shirts, and raffle prizes. Austin has recruited several other police officers to serve as camp instructors. Most of the campers are from Pierce County (Lakewood, UP, Tacoma, Puyallup, Fife, and Spanaway) but the camp is now attracting kids from King and Snohomish Counties as well.
That is why Officer Austin Lee initially recognized by his fellow officers and now by Lakewood’s Human Services Collaboration, is receiving the traveling Red Wagon, a symbol of Lakewood’s Promise of people pulling their weight to help the youth in Lakewood. He exemplifies our first promise by providing ongoing relationships with caring adults-parents, mentors, tutors and coaches, the second promise of providing safe places with structured activities during non-school hours, and the fifth promise of offering youth opportunities to serve in their community.
Lakewood’s Promise mission is to mobilize people from every sector of life in Lakewood to build the character and competence of our youth by fulfilling these Promises:
- Caring Adults-Provide ongoing relationships with caring adults-parents, mentors, tutors and coaches
- Safe Places &Provide safe places with structured activities during non-school hours
- Healthy Start-Provide all the elements leading to good physical/mental health for a health future
- Marketable Skills-Provide marketable skills through effective education
- Opportunities to Serve-Provide youth with opportunities to serve in their community.
Lakewood’s Community Collaboration, made up of over 100 human service organizations, service clubs, businesses, individuals, and public entities presents each month a “Caught in the Act-of Keeping Lakewood’s Promise” Award to an individual or organization that has quietly performed an outstanding deed for a family/child in the City of Lakewood. The October recipient is Officer Austin Lee for his work with Korean-American youth.