OAKLAND -- More than 30 members of law enforcement, the clergy, and outreach and human services workers were honored Saturday for their roles in bringing down violent crime in East Oakland.

More than 250 people attended the first Neighborhood Champion Awards ceremony, held at Acts Full Gospel Church. The event was sponsored by the Oakland Police Foundation, the Oakland Chamber of Commerce and the grass-roots group Make Oakland Better Now.

Officials said those honored played significant roles in bringing violent crime down 28 percent in East Oakland last year, the most significant decline in 10 years. The majority honored are involved in the Ceasefire program, an intervention program in which violent criminals are talked to personally and given alternatives to their lifestyles or told they will face arrest.

Mike Dennis, president of the Police Foundation, said those honored "exemplify community policing partnerships that work." Singled out as those who "steered the ship," according to Dennis, were Oakland police Capt. Ersie Joyner III, who commands Ceasefire for police, and the Rev. George Cummings, pastor of Imani Community Church.

Melinda Haag, U.S. attorney for Northern District of California, was honored for her leadership in the interaction of federal agencies with Oakland police.

Other Oakland police officers honored were Capt. Kirk Coleman, Lt. Tony Jones, Sgts. Richard Niven, Fred Shavies, Anthony Todesco, Kevin Reed, Jeffrey Smoak and Steve Valle and Officers Jose Barocio, Ross Curtin, Chris Marie, Daniel Bruce, Eric Karsseboom and Jurrell Snyder. Civilian police employees Reygan Harmon and Andrea Van Peteghem also got awards.

Assistant Alameda County district attorney John Brouhard and deputy district attorney Ben Beltramo with the DA's gang unit and deputy district attorney John Creighton, who works directly with Ceasefire, were honored.

Other clergy honored were: the Rev. J. Alfred Smith, pastor of Allen Temple Baptist Church; the Rev. Billy Dixon, pastor of At Thy Word Ministries Church of God in Christ; the Rev. Ben McBride, pastor of City Team Ministries; and the Rev. Larry Ashley, pastor of Cosmopolitan Baptist Church. Also receiving awards were: the Rev. James Hopkins, pastor of Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church; the Rev. G. Annette Howard, pastor of Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church; the Rev. Zachary Carey, pastor of True Vine Baptist Church; and the Rev. Martin Peters, pastor of Victory Baptist Church.

Oakland Youth Outreach members honored were Juan Cortez, Francisco Manzo, Glenn Upshaw, Mark Upshaw, Shawn Upshaw and Ron Wysinger.