CITY OF ROCHESTER, NY
Mayor William A. Johnson, Jr.

ROCHESTER POLICE DEPARTMENTíS YOUTH SERVICES SECTION

1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.

RPDís Youth Services Section is a new initiative comprised of an Educational Services Unit and a Juvenile Crime Unit, both of which focus on better youth relations and reduction of criminal activity. The initiative combines all RPD youth-related services into three categories: prevention; intervention; and, enforcement. The Educational Services Unit includes School Resource Officers, the Truancy Reduction Team, and officers available to elementary schools. The Juvenile Crime Unit focuses its efforts on gang intervention, youth crime, and prevention programs. Both units work very closely with the probation department and other agencies involved in the juvenile justice system. Officers work not only when school is in session, but also before and after school.

The Educational Services Unit is comprised of 25 police officers, of which 13 are school resource officers assigned to middle schools and high schools during the school year. Five officers are assigned to elementary prevention programs. The school resource officers program is a school-based policing program which takes a pro-active approach to community policing in schools. This program places police officers on school campuses to ensure:

  • Immediate access to police services.
  • Deterrents to violence and criminal activity.
  • A better rapport between youth and the police community.
  • The provision of information on community services and law-related education to students, parents, and school staff.
  • Informal counseling to students and parents, based on the expertise of a law enforcement officer, including drug abuse, crime prevention, civic responsibility, date rape, etc.
  • Liaison between the school and the police community.
  • Positive role models and encourage law enforcement career development.
  • Truancy prevention initiatives
  • Enhanced utilization of diversion programs.

2. When was the program created and why?

The Youth Services Section was created in February 1998. The goal was to integrate all of the police departmentís juvenile services. The primary objective is to better serve the needs of our school-based population and provide a multi-faceted approach to youth violence.

3. How is the program financed

The school-based policing programs are financed by the City of Rochester. Other programs are funded with federal grants (including COPS), state grants, and City funds.

4. How do you measure the programís effectiveness?

Since the programís implementation, there have been several measuring tools utilized to evaluate successful outcomes. Calls for service at the schools, pro-active activities (i.e., activities officers generate), number of arrests, and referrals to outside agencies are all used to measure effectiveness. Comparisons between past and present data are used to evaluate needs.

Other measuring tools consist of referrals made specifically to police diversion programs such as Pathways, Conway, Crime Seminar, Ceasefire, and Nightwatch, and recidivism rate for each program. For the truancy program, the measuring tool is the current number of students being tracked that have been identified as both chronic and non-chronic truants, measured by comparing past, current, and projected attendance records of students as well as the comparison of calls for service and arrests involving juveniles during school hours.

5. How is the community involved in the programHow has the community responded to the program?

The Youth Services Sectionís initiatives have been widely accepted throughout the community by residents, youth, business representatives, social agencies, and other government entities. With the school-based policing programs, there is a safer campus for students, teachers, staff, parents, and community agencies providing services to individual schools.

School events, both before and after, are usually attended by police personnel. This in itself has been a positive model for the attendees and the parents. The officers have also volunteered their time at schools by becoming involved as coaches and in the parent associations.

Positive feedback from the City School District, businesses, and community members, indicate that these initiatives are working. Business people report fewer truants on the street, thus reducing the nuisances associated with youth loitering in the neighborhoods. The quick police response to problems in schools and in the neighborhoods that surround schools has been well received by members of the community.

The Juvenile Crime Unit is an active participant in programs with other agencies such as Nightwatch, Ceasefire, and Pathways. To date, for example, several positive meetings have been held between the community, alleged gang members, police, and other government agencies.

6. Contact person:

Lt. Daniel Stockslader, Rochester Police Department, 716-428-6014 .

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