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Contest for 8th graders asks students to write about good uses of electronics, technology

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The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association (MCPA) continues its tradition with an essay contest for Minnesota's 8th graders, entitled: "Cool Technology Tools: How Do I Use Them for Good?"

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Individual police departments around the state are part-sponsor of the contest, along with Target Corp., the MCPA, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, AAA Minnesota/Iowa, and Saint Mary's University of Minnesota.

The contest encourages 8th graders from public, private and charter schools in the area to enter the statewide, 500-word essay competition. Students are eligible for a total of 37 awards of $100 each in all parts of the state. The deadline to enter is Tuesday, Nov. 22.

The contest asks youth to examine their individual, moral compass for how they can use personal phones and computers in constructive ways. The essay also asks students to think creatively about how individuals, organizations and communities can integrate the use of technology toward thoughtful and beneficial causes.

The MCPA conducts the contest to convey a strong, positive message to communities and youth. Law enforcement professionals recognize benefits for communities, schools and families by taking a proactive role in positive youth development. Current and retired police chiefs in Minnesota will read an anticipated number of more than 600 essays.

The "Technology for Good" essay contest also is backed by the BCA/ICAC Task Force's years of research and expertise in education and training about appropriate and safe use of technology for kids.

Minnesota's police officers and investigators know of thousands of disturbing cases in our state that could have been avoided if kids had understood the downsides and even dangers of misusing technologies.

The contest sponsors also acknowledge that technology is part of everyday life, and only continues to become more complex and integrated into the lifestyles of people of all ages. As youth become more adept at using electronic tools and technologies, experts encourage positive guidance along the way as kids navigate their "virtual playground."

The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, headquartered in Woodbury, Minn., has existed since 1954. The MCPA is a private, non-profit organization serving a membership of nearly 450 top law enforcement officials in the state. About 95 percent of Minnesota police departments choose annually to maintain their police chief's voting membership status with the association.

The MCPA provides executive-level police chief training and policy assistance to chiefs to help build relationships in their communities, as well as connect with peers, mentors and policy makers in Minnesota. Programs are supported by member dues, fee-based training services and public sponsorships. More information at www.mnchiefs.org under Community Programs.

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