Data & Resources

MuniExLogoWeb200Congratulations 2019 Municipal Excellence Award winners!

AWC’s Municipal Excellence Awards recognize innovative city projects that significantly improve the quality of life for their communities. The competition is open each year to any Washington city or town. We ditched the categories this year, and awarded the five best projects. These projects were recognized at AWC’s Annual Conference this June in Spokane.


Check out the 2019 winners

Kent: Municipal DUI Court – Changing Behavior, Saving Lives

The City of Kent created a Municipal DUI Court to reduce incarceration rates and recidivism among its highest-risk, repeat DUI offenders. Participants spend at least two years in the program, which includes frequent court appearances, random drug/alcohol testing, treatment, support groups, and community service. The program is saving the city significant incarceration costs while improving community safety.

Lakewood: Rental Housing Safety Program

The City of Lakewood is safe-guarding the living conditions of hundreds of residents through its Rental Housing Safety Program (RHSP). The program requires rental property owners to register with the city and receive regular health and safety property inspections. Since its inception, the program has led to the correction of hundreds of safety issues and resulted in closure of several unsafe rental units and relocation of those residents to safer housing.

Olympia: Crisis Response Unit and Familiar Faces

The City of Olympia is going beyond traditional policing to help community members in crisis, many of whom are part of the city’s homeless population. The Olympia Police Department (OPD) operates a mobile Crisis Response Unit staffed by mental health and substance use disorder professionals who can be dispatched directly to police or fire calls and help connect individuals to social service providers. Through its Familiar Faces program, peer navigators use street outreach to build supportive relationships with vulnerable individuals and connect them to community resources.

Pasco: Hot Spotters Program

The City of Pasco Hot Spotters Program brings together first responders, the legal community, mental health and health providers, community housing organizations, and state agencies to improve services for community members who frequently use mental health and social services and emergency response. The Hot Spotters Program has led to embedding mental health professionals with the Pasco Police Department, reducing incidents involving use of force by police officers. Hot Spotters Program partners are also working toward a housing project for high risk individuals in the community.

Selah: Volunteer Park

The City of Selah developed an all-inclusive playground and park, inspired by a local family whose son battled a brain tumor that took his mobility and eventually his life. With grants from state recreation programs, city funding, and local contributions, Volunteer Park is one of only two all-inclusive playgrounds east of the Cascades. The park creates an essential learning experience for youth on how to play with others, regardless of their ability.

More information

Judges looked for these elements in each entry:

  • Did you clearly explain all program aspects?
  • How well did the program achieve its goals? Be sure to clearly state your objectives and accomplishments.
  • How well did you use your resources? Talk about your budget, any grants you received, and highlight any person-power behind your project.
  • What is the program’s current and long term community value? Did your program have community support?
  • Can other cities or towns learn from your program and adapt your ideas to their community?



Contact Karen Tanner.



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