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Students' technology essays earn kudos

Park Rapids Police Chief Terry Eilers, right, presents an award and check to Century School eighth-graders Dana McDonald and Alyza Edevold for writing winning essays in a Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association contest. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association has awarded Dana McDonald and Alyza Edevold of Century School in Park Rapids for outstanding response to an essay contest for Minnesota's eighth graders called "Cool Technology Tools: How Do I Use Them for Good?"

The Park Rapids Police Department is part-sponsor of the contest. The students were two of 27 awardees from more than 400 entrants around the state. They each received $100 from a grant from Target Corp.

The contest encouraged youth to examine their individual moral compass for how they can use personal phones and computers in constructive ways. The essay also asked 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 read the essays.

The "Technology for Good" essay contest also is backed by the State of Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension: Internet Crimes Against Children, which has invested years of research and expertise in education and training about appropriate and safe use of technology for kids.

The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association has existed since 1954. It is a private, non-profit organization serving a membership of 330 chief law enforcement officers in the state.

The MCPA provides executive-level leadership 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.