Utica, NY (WIBX) -The Utica Police Department is getting some recognition, members of the American Legion Utica Post 229 honoring the department for it's efforts to reduce violent crime, naming U.P.D. "Department of the Year".

The reason, a drop in violent crime. According to Utica Police Chief Mark Willims, last year's homicide rate within the city fell to a nine-year low.  Other violent crimes are down too.

Post 229 also honored two officers within the department, Investigator Robert Kopek and Patrolman James Holt, both men receiving special recognition based on their performance and personality.

Kopek, a Senior Investigator on the Night Unit, is considered a mentor to newer investigators, while Officer Holt, a member of the Special Operations Unit, arrested nearly 200 people last year, 143 of which were drug related.

Chief Williams states that in 2010, the 180 men and woman of Utica Police Department responded to 55,000 calls, made 6,200 arrests, wrote more than 8,500 traffic tickets and handed out nearly 18,000 parking tickets.