Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Monday, March 28, 2011

2010 Director’s Community Leadership Award

In a Washington, D.C. ceremony Friday at FBI Headquarters, Director Robert S. Mueller, III recognized the recipients of the 2010 Director's Community Leadership Award. These leaders, selected by their area FBI field office, have demonstrated outstanding contributions to their local communities through community service.

Included among those recognized was Mrs. Linda J. Walker, who was nominated by the FBI Minneapolis Field Office. She is the mother of Dru Sjodin who, at age 22, was kidnapped from a shopping mall parking lot in North Dakota in November 2003. Dru's body was discovered near Crookston, Minnesota nearly five months later. Her convicted killer, a sex offender, had been released from custody after serving 23 years for attempted kidnapping and assault shortly before Dru was kidnapped. He is currently on federal death row. Mrs. Walker has become a tireless advocate of women and children by speaking out against violence against them. She travels throughout the country to speak to college students, law enforcement, and the media in order to raise awareness and rally support for legislation. In 2004, Senator Byron Dorgen and Representative Earl Pomeroy, both of North Dakota, sponsored Dru's Law in Congress to create a National Sex Offender's Database. Mrs. Walker was relentless in her effort to bring the proposed legislation to the attention of the public and every member of Congress. She was present at the White House on July 26, 2006, when President Bush signed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act into law, legislation that included Dru's Law.

Dru's Law requires convicted child molesters to be listed on a national Internet database and face a felony charge for failing to update their whereabouts. It is the first national online database that allows the public to search for registered sex offenders by zip code. It assists law enforcement in locating more than 100,000 unaccounted for sex offenders, calls for harsh federal sentences for sexually assaulting children, and allows for the imposition of the death penalty if a victim is murdered.

Mrs. Walker, along with other parents whom she met in Washington, D.C. while lobbying for the Adam Walsh Act, formed the Surviving Parents Coalition (SPC). The mission of the SPC is to advocate for legislation that will aid in the prevention of crimes against children and young adults; especially child sex abuse, sexual assault, exploitation, abduction, and murder.

Ralph S. Boelter, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Minneapolis office said, "It is the hope of Linda and the FBI that her important work and her tireless effort , done in her daughter's memory, will result in greater protection for our most vulnerable citizens and make our communities safer for everyone. Linda's determination was the essential ingredient to what child advocates have called the most sweeping sex offender legislation to target pedophiles in years."

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