Criminal justice director earns statewide award

Dennis Berry, director of criminal justice services for Mesa County, has won a distinguished service award from the Governor’s Community Corrections Advisory Council.

Berry received the O. John Kuenhold award, which recognizes the exceptional contributions of an individual to public safety in the field of community service. Berry has worked for Mesa County for 27 years.

“Under Dennis’ leadership, our community corrections program helps make Mesa County residents safer in our communities,” said Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland. “Dennis and his staff work tirelessly with criminal offenders to significantly reduce the likelihood that they will commit further crimes in our area.”

One of the main functions of community corrections programs is to ensure offenders have the necessary skills to become productive citizens when they transition back into society. “Dennis was instrumental in developing the county’s new Summit View drug treatment program,” said Tom Papin, interim Mesa County administrator. “Breaking people’s meth addiction means less crime in Mesa County, pure and simple.”

Berry also helped start a specialized residential community corrections program just for women — the first of its kind in Mesa County — that helps female offenders prepare for life in the community.

“I’m humbled to be recognized by a group of people who have influenced community corrections in such a powerful way over the years,” Berry said. “Any contribution I’ve made is just a part of the group effort by the dedicated staff I work with at criminal justice services and Mesa County.”