CITY OF LYNN,
COPS AND KIDS
1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.
Mayor Patrick J. McManus, in 1997, initiated the "Cops and Kids" Program, a collaborative effort between the Lynn Police Department, Lynn Public Schools, Community Minority Cultural Center (CMCC), and the Lynn YMCA .
This innovative after school program is designed to prevent substance abuse and violence through education and the development of positive interactions between the police and at-risk youth, while taking advantage of the educational, cultural, and recreational programs of the CMCC and YMCA.
Mayor McManus, who has consistently demonstrated his advocacy for youth, expanded the program, since its inception, by funding new programs at various agencies, including the Cityís premier arts/cultural organizations.
New activities include computer training, life skills development, educational assistance and cultural enrichment sessions. An HIV/AIDS curriculum will be presented throughout the school year and supported by the CMCCís in-house HIV/AIDS Resource Center. Reenactment of the life of Frederick Douglass and self-esteem development classes will be conducted by nationally renowned actor Fred Morsell. The Lynn Historical Society will provide educational workshops and historical bus tours. The Mayor also provided monies to fund jobs for low-income high school seniors who will work as staff and peer mentors.
2. When was the program created and why?
Mayor McManus implemented the "Cops and Kids" Program in the fall of 1997 in order to provide additional after-school programs and activities for the Cityís grades 4-8 youth. "Cops and Kids" was designed in a unique format to complement the Cityís Community Policing efforts and other after-school youth initiatives, such as the "Mayorís Gold Card," which provides all Lynn teens free access to the Cityís four primary youth agencies.
The City faced several challenges during the implementation stages of the program, including the securing of adequate funding to provide a well-rounded, worthwhile after-school initiative that offers educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities. This issue was addressed by aggressively seeking supplemental grant funding and by working extensively with the schools, social service agencies, and the business community.
A significant challenge faced by the City was providing quality programming and instructors while working within a limited budget. The first step taken to address this concern was to utilize the resources within the primary agencies of the "Cops and Kids" program--the CMCC, Lynn Police, YMCA, and Lynn School Department. This issue also was addressed by aggressively seeking supplemental funding sources through state and federal grants.
A challenge faced during the early stages of the program was identifying, reaching, and enrolling the communityís at-risk children in the targeted age group. Extensive outreach efforts were undertaken and maximized primarily by working cooperatively with the Lynn public school system and local youth and social service agencies.
The City, in cooperation with the "Cops and Kids" agencies, continues to undertake extensive outreach to identify and serve at-risk children, as well as pursue new sources of funding and programming.
3. How do you measure the programís effectiveness?
The "Cops and Kids" program complements other after-school youth initiatives and the Cityís Community Policing program, which has achieved excellent results and widespread public support.
Since Mayor McManus implemented Community Policing, the Cityís crime rate decreased dramatically for four consecutive years--Lynnís overall crime rate dropped 25% since 1994.
The "Cops and Kids" program is a natural extension of Lynnís Community Policing program and, with an emphasis on problem-solving interventions, is intended to further prevent criminal activities.
The initiativeís goals are to improve self-esteem and prevent substance abuse, crime, and violence, enhance educational skills and expand cultural as well as social experiences. These objectives will be achieved through quality after-school programming, including the development of positive relationships between police officers and at-risk youth.
4. How is the program financed?
The "Cops and Kids" program is financed through a combination of federal and state grants, as well as a local match provided by Mayor McManus. Funding for the program has nearly doubled, from $67,000 to more than $129,000, in less than six months.
"Cops and Kids" was initially funded through a U.S. Department of Justice grant of $50,000 with Mayor McManus providing a local match of $17,000. The $67,000 provided the funding necessary to get the program up and running.
Soon after the program was implemented, Mayor McManus successfully applied for a $25,000 Safe Neighborhood Initiative (SNI) grant from the State Attorney Generalís Office. The grant funds jobs for seven low-income high school seniors. The students work part-time during the school year and are guaranteed full-time summer employment with the Department of Community Developmentís Summer Jobs Program.
Mayor McManus recently was successful in obtaining supplemental funds for the program in the form of a $37,500 grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety and the District Attorneyís Office. The grant funds a comprehensive Truancy Prevention Initiative (TIP) which includes the expansion of high quality educational and cultural activities for the "Cops and Kids" program.
Mayor McManus continues to work diligently on identifying and securing additional grant moneys that further expand the Initiativeís programming and staffing levels.
5. How is the community involved in the program, if at all. How has the community responded to the program?
The community has responded very positively to the "Cops and Kids" effort and local agencies and organizations have become actively involved through various programs that are vital to the success of the initiative.
A fundamental component of "Cops and Kids" is the Truancy Initiative Program (TIP), which primarily utilizes the services of several organizations to implement a variety of educational and cultural enrichment activities to address truancy by targeting at risk students.
In addition to TIP, the Residence Assistance Program (RAP) of the Lynn Housing Authority (LHA) and the Lynn Boys and Girls Clubís SMART Moves are two elements which maximize the resources of "Cops and Kids."
The Residence Assistance Program is tailored to meet the needs of TIP participants. The LHA implements this initiative for TIP participants during a fifteen week period (February-June) and a fourteen week period (September-December). The RAP includes reading and math improvement skills, self-esteem building, values and conflict resolution, and cultural diversity workshops. The program utilizes presentations, interactive exercises and group discussions to encourage active participation.
The Lynn Boys and Girls Club of Lynn will conduct its SMART Moves program for TIP students. SMART Moves is a national drug and pregnancy prevention effort designed to develop resistance skills in youth. The initiative uses a resistance training/social model to instruct youth to recognize and resist media influences and peer pressures to engage in alcohol and other drug use, and early sexual involvement.
"Cops and Kids" places a strong emphasis on cultural and historical education, particularly that which identifies the City of Lynnís significance in our nationís history. Two fundamental elements which address these issues involve nationally recognized actor Fred Morsell and the Lynn Historical Society.
Mr. Fred Morsell, known for his vivid portrayal of Frederick Douglass, has developed a series of seminars designed to empower youth to believe in themselves in order to maximize their opportunities and potential, through engagement with the life, philosophy and achievements of Frederick Douglass.
Mr. Morsell, in order to effectively bring the message of Frederick Douglass to young people, has created the innovative Douglass Scholars Program (DSP) for elementary and secondary schools. This program gives young people information and understanding which encourages them to draw on their personal resources and overcome doubts, fears, and prejudices.
Classroom and workshop activities enable the students to internalize Douglassí keys to full American citizenship, by engaging them with his principals of success from the past to help them succeed in the present and future.
The second level of cultural/historical programming involves the Lynn Historical Society. The Historical Society offers a variety of educational activities such as Black History Bus Tours which provide an overview of the contributions Lynners have made to our nationís history, including the abolitionist movement. The tour also focuses on the works of people such as Frederick Douglass, Abbey Kelly, the Hutchinson Family Singers, and the great African American Inventor Jan Matzeliger.
A separate historical tour includes visits to the Lynn Heritage State Park, the Grand Army of the Republic Museum as well as Pine Grove Cemetery and the famous Lynn Common. The tour focuses special attention on the role of immigrants in the development of the city including the growth of the shoe industry.
A visit to the Lynn Historical Society includes the viewing of a documentary on the inventor Jan Matzeliger and a slide presentation on his and other immigrants roles in the development of the shoe industry. A hands on workshop involves the examination of artifacts from the shoe industry as well as an activity based on the 1860 Census.
"Cops and Kids" also capitalizes on the resources of Lynnís corporate business community to develop educational programming which highlights local professionals and career opportunities in the city.
Time Warner Cable, the first business to complete such a course, offered an innovative television production class tailored to the ages of "Cops and Kids" participants. The three-week long class, offered free of charge to the City, introduced youth to the processes of video production. The original video starred the classí children and documented after-school activities offered at the new Community Minority Cultural Center. The video was premiered to the participantsí parents. The video production course was a tremendous success with the children and Time Warner expressed their willingness to offer similar courses throughout the year.
An extremely important aspect of "Cops and Kids" is the Safe Neighborhood Initiative (SNI), which provides jobs for low-income high school seniors as well as additional staff and resources for the participating agencies.
SNI, through Girls Inc., provides financial assistance for responsible and motivated teens who will participate in comprehensive job training/placement opportunities. Limiting participation to low-income families ensures that these opportunities will benefit Lynnís most socio-economically needy population.
All SNI participants underwent a six-week general training program at Girls Inc. that included needs assessments, job search techniques, career exploration and preparation, and courses addressing on the job issues and life skills. Upon completion of the program, participants received job specific orientation and training by the individual placement agencies.
While the "Cops and Kids" initiative has dramatically expanded since its inception, the development of positive relationships between the police and the children remains a critical element to the program.
The Lynn Police Department provides additional oversight and offers a variety of classroom and community oriented programs and activities. Classes on site at the CMCC include drug and crime prevention as well as home and personal safety courses.
Off-site activities include field trips to the police and fire stations, Lynn Community Health Center, the local Post Office, local businesses, and various other important locations throughout the city.
Mayor McManus is committed to continued expansion of the "Cops and Kids" programming, especially that which focuses on the successful models of the community policing efforts, to further enhance the quality of life for Lynnís at-risk children, as well as all of the citizens of Lynn.
The "Cops and Kids" Initiativeís approach to prevention through education, combined with aggressive efforts to establish long-term relationships between youth and police officers, is an effective approach to community policing and life skills development.
It is important to recognize that children of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds are interested in after school programming. It is imperative when establishing youth oriented after-school efforts to develop them in a manner which is most interesting to the youth. Youth oriented initiatives, especially after-school programs, which fail to attract the interest of the children are susceptible to severe attendance problems.
It is also extremely important to establish a relationship with not only municipal agencies but also the non-profit youth oriented organizations within the community. Creating positive public-private partnerships enables all involved to expand and maximize their resources. This can be illustrated in the City of Lynnís success in identifying and acquiring more than $60,000 in additional grant funds for the "Cops and Kids" program since its inception.
"Cops and Kids" is an outstanding example of a successful public-private partnership, bringing together several well-respected organizations for the common purpose of steering the Cityís youth toward positive life styles and away from behaviors which lead to crime and substance abuse.
6. Contact person:
For additional information concerning this program contact Frank Meilinger, Communications Director, Office of the Mayor, Lynn City Hall, Lynn, MA 01901. Phone number (781) 598-4000, ext. 356 and Fax number (781)599-8875.
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
Copyright © 1999, US Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.