The Luther Automotive Group

Police chief credits Luther Auto for crime drop

Police Chief Benner

Police Chief Kevin Benner

Standing before a sizable audience at the city’s annual police awards ceremony, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Kevin Benner presented the Chief’s Commitment to a Safe Community Award to Luther Automotive.

Benner said crime in Brooklyn Center, Minn. over the last seven years has plummeted, and hit a record low in 2014.

Brooklyn Center is a northwest suburb of Minneapolis.

For several years, Luther has purchased soccer uniforms and equipment for the city’s program and sponsored beginning and end of the season events.  The chief said the recent connection with Luther Auto began several years ago with a police and fire department community gathering at Brookdale Chevrolet Buick GMC.  Talk of baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet turned to soccer, and the great interest in it expressed by local families.

“Kids weren’t playing baseball as much in Brooklyn Center and they (Luther) took a gamble … and 100 kids signed up in a day,” Benner explained.

“There’s a reality that a lot of people don’t know.  When you deal with youth and keep them out of crime, it actually does have a long term effect on your community,” the chief said.  “And this is that long term effect.  They (Luther Auto) brought soccer into Brooklyn Center in an exponential fashion, for hundreds of kids.”

luther-auto-police-award-minnesotaIt was only the second time the award was given in the 25-year history of the program, which focuses primarily on acts of bravery, life saving events and honors for exemplary young people.  The emotional event also recognized three officers who saved nine people from a fire.  Another instance involved a woman who called 911, saving a sleeping family from a house fire.  There were tears and hugs as the couple and their baby met her for the first time.  Other awards were given for crime tips given to police and officers who pursued a dangerous robbery suspect into Minneapolis.

Luther’s chief financial officer, Barb Hilbert, thanked the city for including Luther Auto with the honorees.  “You have fostered an incredible relationship between Luther Automotive, the police department and the city,” said Hilbert.  “It has been such an honor for us to work with you and the people in the department and the support that you have shown over the years for our people, our business and the community endeavors that we’ve undertaken … it’s a community that’s near and dear to us.”
Benner said the crime reduction is not just a short term concept, but a measured result.  “And I say this with great pride- thank you for what you’ve done.”

Luther greets crime prevention program president

Company President David Luther shakes hands with Crime Prevention Program President Bobbye Moylan as Luther Brookdale Mazda Mitsubishi General Manager Gary Peterson looks on.

Luther Auto receives police award- Brooklyn Center, Minn.

From left: Andrew Gadient, Matt Oquist, David Luther, Barb Hilbert (in back), Linda McGinty, Bobbye Moylan (Crime Prevention Program President), Gary Peterson (general manager Brookdale Mazda Mitsubishi), Curt Johnson (GM Brookdale Chevrolet Buick GMC), Chris Johnson, Kathy Dickson, Mayor Tim Willson, Jim Baldwin (GM, Luther Brookdale Volkswagen) and Police Chief Kevin Benner.

Watch the event:

Special thanks to Northwest Community Television for sharing this video.

More stories about the soccer program

Investing in youth goals

A great year of soccer

Soccer well received by families

Celebrating soccer program

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