Jeff Nunn, a veteran officer of the Independence Police Department, is this year's recipient of the Susan Paxton Block Award for Distinguished Public Service.
The award is presented annually by the Junior Service League to a city employee, volunteer or elected official who has demonstrated outstanding public service, valor and job performance with leadership. Junior Service League Past President Kerry Cornett presented the award to Nunn at Monday's City Council meeting.
Nunn has been a school resource officer with the Independence School District and worked with the Youth Alcohol Diversion Program since 2007. In 2014, he began to direct the alcohol diversion program, which includes liquor compliance checks.
Nunn is responsible for recruiting and training youth volunteers for the compliance checks. Since 2014, the compliance rate for those checks has risen from 81.8 percent that year to more than 90 percent each year thereafter. Nunn has been able to conduct liquor compliance checks several times in a year, thanks to finding more grant dollars – more than $33,000 this year compared with $7,000 in 2017.
Nunn said he was “humbled and honored” by the award and joked that he's been an Independence resident his entire life, except for Block's four years on the City Council – when he was away at college.
In his current police officer role, he said, “I have the ability to create a positive perception of police officers with our youth.”
Nunn thanked his police comrades and city employees who help with the alcohol diversion program and liquor compliance, as well as the store managers.
“They understand that increased enforcement is a team effort,” he said.
Block was a second-generation member of the Junior Service League, including a term as president, and she also represented the 3rd District on the council from 1992 until her death due to cancer in November 1996. Her father, the late Bill Paxton, established the award to honor her memory and recognize individuals from city employees to volunteers. It is awarded around the time of Block’s birthday, Sept. 24.
A selection committee, comprised of local service club presidents, selects the recipient. The award is $1,000 plus a sterling silver medallion and a sterling silver lapel pin. Proceeds come from the memorial fund established by Paxton.