FAIRFIELD — A local police detective was awarded with a distinguished service medal earlier this week for his work with the town’s “SHAPE Our Youth” program.

Chief Christopher Lyddy presented Detective Michael Clark with the award on Tuesday, April 21.

The medal is awarded to an officer who has made a major contribution to the development of policies, programs or procedures that have a substantial impact on the Fairfield police, the Fairfield community of the police profession.

When Clark was assigned to the department’s School Safety Division, he created the “SHAPE Our Youth” program. SHAPE stands for safety, health and positive environment.

Clark spent hours of his own time researching and compiling data, curriculum and lesson building to develop a model that has received high praises from students, parents and school staff at Fairfield Public Schools. Other police agencies nationwide have also praised the program, the department said.

“He identified core concepts that are most relevant to Fairfield youth and built the curriculum around these issues,” according to the department.

Clark would focus on issues including social skills, decision making, conflict resolution and ways to minimize the risk of school violence.

About 1,200 Fairfield students, between grades five and six, take the program each year, free of charge.

In a statement, Lyddy said Clark was “extremely deserving” of the award and acknowledged the amount of time and preparation devoted to make the program happen.

“We congratulate him on the award, and look forward to many, many more years of the SHAPE program helping the younger generation of Fairfield residents,” Lyddy said.