Youth Engagement Abstracts
Louisiana Law Enforcement on Gun Safety (LLEGS)
Agency: Baton Rouge City (Louisiana) Constable's Office
Year: 2015 Semifinalist
Contact: Constable Reginald R. Brown - reginaldbrown [at] cox.net
This statewide effort has law enforcement agencies working together to prevent accidental gun deaths among children. The multi-agency collaborative project uses certified firearm instructors to teach children and parents about gun safety. Two significant threats to young people -- accidental gun discharges and the “anti-snitch” culture -- are addressed through a novel, interactive approach to reduce gun deaths and injuries, while positively influencing the attitudes of young people. Interactive presentations, involving live demonstrations and the distribution of gun locks, are conducted at schools and community events. To date, the project has taught 36,055 children at 136 events in 20 different parishes, involving 459 demonstrations and the distribution of 323 gunlocks. Such positive interactions at an early age can influence how that young person views and deals with law enforcement. Since the project began in 2013, accidental gun accidents involving children in the district have gone down by 40 percent.
Educating Kids about Gun Violence - Decision Points (EKG)
Agency: Fayetteville (North Carolina) Police Department
Year: 2015 Semifinalist
Contact: Operation Ceasefire Coordinator Lisa Jayne - ljayne [at] ci.fay.nc.us
In one year, more than 500 serious criminal acts were reported by school administrators, including 215 for possession of weapons on school campuses. This youth gun-violence education and prevention program educates students about the legal, medical and emotional consequences of gun possession and violence, and encourages young people to consider options available to them. The two-day interactive classroom presentation is led by a trained EKG Team of police officers and detectives. The team uses the EKG curriculum, EKG Kit (DVD and thumb drive) photographs, case scenarios, personal stories and small group discussions to engage students. During the 2014-2015 school year, the program was taught to 7,594 students in 464 classrooms. Pre- and post-surveys indicate that participation in the program leads to changes in the student’s attitude, behavior and cognition. Based on the initial success, other jurisdictions have requested copies of the curriculum and training on implementation.
Police-Youth Dialogue: Building Trust and Breaking DMC
Agency: Gainesville (Florida) Police Department
Year: 2015 Finalist
Contact: Captain Jorge Campos - camposjj [at] cityofgainesville.org
While African-Americans make up only 23 percent of this city’s total population, more than 85 percent of juvenile arrests in 2014 were black juveniles. This department received a disproportionate minority contact (DMC) grant to develop methods to reduce racial and ethnic disparities dealing with juvenile arrests. Collaborating with community stakeholders, the a policing model was developed to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in juvenile arrests, keep juveniles in the school system, and foster positive interaction between police and youth. Intervention strategies include changes in juvenile arrest policy, creating a Youth and Community Services Division, providing DMC training, and adopting monthly Police-Youth Dialogues. Results of this ongoing program show a drastic reduction in on-school juvenile arrests, a decrease in juvenile arrests on domestic charges and a significant improvement in youth and officer attitudes because of the enhanced police-youth communication.
Summer of Safety Program
Agency: Greenville (Texas) Police Department
Year: 2014 Semifinalist
Contact: Chief Daniel J. Busken - dbusken [at] ci.greenville.tx.us
Police officers noticed that many of the juvenile offenders they encountered regularly were the children of adult offenders or from homes where there was little or no adult interaction with the child. This department set out to develop some summer programs that would not only give youngsters something constructive to do, but would also allow officers to become friends with them. A key consideration was that the activities should not cost the children anything since most of them were economically disadvantaged. When approached by the department with their concerns and plans to expand the Summer of Safety program, local businesses and social clubs willingly supported the effort with money and volunteers. Since the activities take place in different areas of the city, it is guaranteed that at least one of them will be within walking distance of every child. Summer of Safety has become a mainstay of the department’s youth programs. Since implementation, juvenile crime dropped from 1,149 offenses to 210 offenses.
Gang Diversion Team
Agency: Los Angeles County (California) Sheriff's Department - Carson Station
Year: 2014 Semifinalist
Contact: Deputy Fredrick Noya - fjnoya [at] lasd.org
The target population for this multiagency, community-based initiative is at-risk youth and gang-affiliated individuals of all ages residing in the Carson area. Four specific risk levels are tailored to each client’s needs, and using a case management approach, a treatment plan is developed. Primary goals include reducing negative outcomes associated with youths involved in gang activity and increasing positive relationships with caregivers and other adults. The team monitors the progress of the individuals, and each youth’s progress is held accountable to the sheriff’s department, the caregiver and community-based agencies. Measurable objectives include fewer arrests, fewer truant days from school, and more positive relationships
with family and caregivers. The team has been transforming high risk, gang affiliated adolescents into career-oriented, law abiding citizens. There are currently 48 youths actively receiving services and the program is expected to have a capacity of 100 participants.
Students Talking it Over with Police (STOP) Program
Agency: Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Police Department
Year: 2014 Winner
Contact: Police Sergeant Denmark Morrison - dmorri [at] milwaukee.gov
This school-based program addresses the relationship between young leaders, ages 12-17, and police with the goal of decreasing an initial volatile interaction while cultivating sustainable positive relationships. For one hour per day, one day per week, for seven weeks, officers educate juveniles on not only the nature of police work, but also on how to appropriately communicate and interact with officers. A process and outcome evaluation assesses measurable effects of the training. Analysis results indicate that STOP is successful in improving general knowledge, proper behavior during a police stop and a better perception of the police. Officers are aware that juveniles have been informed of the appropriate ways in which police should act, thereby creating a two-way accountability mechanism. Approximately 94 percent of participants reported feeling better about the police after taking part in the program.