Mayor Richard D. Watkins


1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.

The Mayor/Superintendentís Forum is a program in which the Mayor, Safety Director, Police Chief, Superintendent of Schools, individual school administrators (Principals from elementary, junior high and high school levels), and Juvenile Court Judges attend monthly meetings regarding public safety/violence prevention in Canton City Schools.

These meetings provide consistent and direct communication between the schools, the City Administration and the Court system.

2. When was the program created and why?

The Program was created in August, 1996, initially as a spin-off of the Cityís D.A.R.E. program. The forum was a joint effort of the Mayor and the Superintendent of Schools, as a preventative measure.

3. How do you measure the programís effectiveness?

The programís effectiveness is best measured by the minimal incidents of school violence. Principalís, participate in the forums and are able to present and discuss first-hand, any problems that may occur in their schools. They have the ability to communicate to the Police Department if, when and where law enforcement visibility/intervention is necessary.

For example, some high school principals noted that fights broke out on the school grounds upon dismissal of classes at the end of the day. Through the Forum and participation by the Police Department, it was decided that a police cruiser would be dispatched to each high school at dismissal time. This police visibility greatly decreased the number of after-school confrontations between students. With the assistance of Juvenile Judges, the Forum also implemented an effective Truancy program.

The school system has introduced Mediation Programs in all of the city schools, beginning at the third grade level. All training and mediation is conducted by students. This aspect of the program has been successful in teaching non-violent problem solving.

4. How is the program financed?

There is no program cost.

5. How is the community involved in the program, if at all? How has the community responded to the program?

Parents, business owners, or anyone having problems or concerns are to approach the Principal of the appropriate school. If the Principal is unable to solve the problem himself, he will pose those concerns at the next Forum in order to find resolve.

The City also has (separate from this program) neighborhood meetings, allowing residents the ability to voice their concerns on any/all matters.

6. Contact persons:

Paul W. Bair, Jr., Director of Public Safety

Thomas Wyatt, Chief of Police

City of Canton

City of Canton

218 Cleveland Avenue SW

218 Cleveland Avenue SW

Canton, OH 44702

Canton, OH 44702

(330) 489-3087

(330) 489-3111

(330) 489-3282 (Fax)

(330) 489-3264 (Fax)

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The United States Conference of Mayors

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