Case Western Reserve University is extending its partnership with the City of Cleveland and two Cleveland police departments through training and implementing strategies concerning intervention and family services with a focus on reducing juvenile crimes.
The Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority Police Department and the Cleveland Police Department (CPD) have been awarded a grant totalling close to $1 million so that they can create a “first social responder” taskforce to intervene with juvenile offenders and their families.
With the help of local company Beech Brook, whose services range from job training, financial advice, family counseling and general intervention, programs will be provided for the program participants.
Mark Singer, the Leonard W. Mayo Professor in Family and Child Welfare at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, has worked with the involved departments for similar initiatives in the past.
“The earlier you can intervene when someone has committed a crime, the more likely you are to help that person turn their life around,” Singer explained to the Daily.
The grant also allows for police officers to provide additional training in working with at-risk youth, another method used in juvenile crime prevention and intervention.
Thomas McCartney, commander of the CPD’s Third District, said, “Hopefully, this program will help limit crime at its source by providing what’s needed to families.”
Rather than working to penalize and discipline youth involved in illegal activities and crimes, this grant will allow Cleveland to provide the resources necessary to step in and help find a resolution to the problem of juvenile delinquency.
“In a police officer’s belt, he or she has a gun, Taser, a baton, handcuffs, a flashlight—all this equipment,” Singer said. “This partnership hopes to add few more tools to the toolbelt.”