Vanessa Crawford

Photo: Courtesy of Vanessa Crawford

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Vanessa Crawford, Sheriff, Petersburg, Virginia
The Challenge: "The perception of law enforcement has been negative for so many years," Crawford says.

How She Tackled It: Since her election in 2005, Crawford has launched more than 30 programs designed to increase interaction among her officers and residents, including a teen-driver safety course (which earned her a commendation by the Virginia state senate) and a crime prevention class for retirees (attended by some 900 people so far) that includes a field trip to nearby Washington, D.C. And one Friday a month, the sheriff's office stays open late so local artists can display their work in the building.

Words to Lead By: "We need to make our communities have faith in us," Crawford says. —Laura Dave

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