As a 26 year Quincy Police Department veteran, Lieutenant Dan Minton has continuously worked to strengthen ties between his community and the police officers, and in doing so he has made an incredible impact on the city.
From the very beginning, Dan wanted to work with the public, stressing, "Although it's important to catch the bad guys, the real work of police officers is helping people."
In fact, Dan went on to get his Master's Degree in Social Work, followed by a second Master's in Criminal Justice.
When a position opened with the Quincy Police Department, Dan was thrilled to work in his hometown and ever since he has created educational and outreach programs for his city.
In 1992, he co-founded the Quincy Student Police Academy and the program has been wildly popular with students of all ages.
Dan and his fellow officers volunteer to visit schools to educate students about law enforcement, and they make it fun by including K-9 presentations and police car ride-alongs.
A number of these students have gone on to join the Quincy Police Department and now also volunteer to lead school presentations.
When Lieutenant Dan was put in charge of the Crime Prevention Unit in 2005, he used the opportunity to create many new community programs for all ages.
One program, Cops in the Parks, brings Quincy police officers to public parks after dark, where they are out of uniform, unarmed, and positively interacting with park visitors to help make the areas safer.
Last summer in 2010, one particularly dangerous park went from being the source of numerous 911 calls to a place where mothers felt comfortable jogging or walking their baby carriages along the track.
Dan also started an anti-bullying campaign for middle school children, as well as his Early Bird Basketball League, where officers coach and play with students.
Another program reached out to senior citizens, where officers visited 11 senior complexes to educate the residents about safety issues.
In 2006, Dan raised grant money to create a local chapter of
Project Lifesaver, a nationwide program aimed at electronically tracking residents of all ages who become lost due to autism or dementia related ailments.
On September 10, 2010, Dan helped save a missing 8 year old autistic boy after his mother frantically called in for help.
Dan was off duty at the time, but knew that autistic children are drawn to water, so he headed to the nearby harbor and using binoculars spotted the child up to his neck in the water.
Dan immediately walked in after him, calmly speaking to the boy and then carrying him to shore.
When Dan is not on the job or volunteering, he writes a weekly column for the local newspaper, detailing current crime "hotspots" and also highlighting the positive work of individual officers.
Even though he has accomplished so much, Dan prefers to give all the recognition to his police department, saying that if it were not for their efforts and commitment as volunteers, none of his programs could exist.
His Captain John Dougan says, "Dan takes his work and the programs very personally.
He just likes to help."