The department was awarded the Dr. Curtis E. McClung/Motorola Award of Excellence at the GACP's annual banquet in Savannah.
"It's a very prestigious award," Major Wayne Dennard said. "We're glad they recognized our work and the work of our officers."
The Acworth Police Department was chosen as the recipient of the award, which is given annually in recognition of innovative programs, for its Covering the Bases community outreach program.
As part of the program, residents and members of the police department walk around the bases at Horizon Field for 24 hours straight to raise funds and awareness for the field and the Horizon League. Money raised from the first event was used to construct the Horizon Field, which includes a synthetic, rubberized baseball diamond that provides a safe surface for children with special needs to participate in organized sports. The field was completed in time for the start of the 2009 spring Horizon League, which had more than 160 players enrolled this year. Police personnel also coach teams in the league.
The third Covering the Bases event will be Sept. 18, from 7 a.m. to 7 the next morning. So far, the community outreach program has raised more than $50,000.
"For any program to be successful, a total buy in is required," Acworth Police Chief Michael Wilkie said. "The buy-in of the community has rooted itself so deeply within the Acworth Police Department that it is nearly impossible to consider it a mandated process."
Carolyn Grier, a parent of a Horizon League athlete, said, "Having the field and the ability to have my daughter participate in a sport that she has only been able to observe in the past, gives her and the rest of our family a sense of belonging. ... The Acworth Police Department's caring officers have given my family a new perspective regarding the police department's role in the community."
Honorable mentions for the award included the Cobb County Department of Public Safety, overseen by Director Mickey Lloyd, and the Carrollton Police Department Chief Joel Richards.