TRUANCY, OPERATION MIDNIGHT, YOUTH COURT
1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.
Our regularly assigned patrol officers and the Weed and Seed Officers, while on patrol make notations of any graffiti they observed on buildings, whether public or private. This information is forwarded to our maintenance department. The maintenance stall will that very day go to the site and ascertain what color paint is needed to eradicate the graffiti. We keep approximately eleven (11) different colors of paints on hand. If by chance, we do not have that color, the maintenance staff is authorized to purchase that color from the paint store. We even match concrete paint. In addition, we also use a product called Zip Erase. This product is manufactured by Zep Manufacturing Co., Atlanta, Ga. 30301, telephone number (404) 355-3120. Most important, we do not discriminate between public and private buildings. This program involves the removal from private residences, as well as abandoned buildings and abandoned commercial buildings. Of course, home owners love this program, it saves them money, and there is restoration of their property at no cost to them.
This program costs our department approximately one thousand dollars ($1000.00) annually. It is money well spent. The youth in the city cannot get a foothold in their advertising of gang messages, nor claims to territories within the community, provided the removal is done immediately.
We also use sentenced inmate help. These are nonviolent offenders. They are used to clean our vacant lots and assist in boarding up abandoned buildings. All materials for boarding up buildings and equipment required to clean vacant lots are furnished by the department. We have a tractor, lawn mower, rakes, weed eaters, gloves and trash bags for their usage. The cost of this program is approximately twenty-five dollars ($25.00) per day. The reason for the cost is that these inmates are taken to a local restaurant for lunch, each day. We obtain quality work from the inmates involved and we have had no escapes, as the inmates are low risk prisoners. There is only one (1) officer assigned to this detail. He picks the inmates up from the County Jail and returns them at the end of the day.
We have several funding sources for our Youth Court Program. The South Carolina Youth Lawyers Bar Association, The Weed and Seed Program, and The Enterprise Community. The Bar Association supplies attorneys for training and as overseers in the court for prosecution and the defense. The funds are used for printing purposes and materials used in the court. The Court space is donated by the Municipal Court of Charleston.
The students that participate in the program are recruited from the high schools and middle schools. They must maintain a C+ grade average to qualify. They are trained over a four (4) week period by attorneys and judges in all aspects of the court and its proceedings. They must also pass a mini-bar examination. If they fail the first test, they are permitted to retake the test the following Saturday. At the end of the school year, the participants are given an appreciation banquet and they receive certificates of appreciation for their community service.
The department has instituted a gun safety program in the schools. Any student observing another student with a gun can call our crime stoppers number and report the information and they will receive one hundred dollars ($100.00). This is inclusive of any bee-bee gun that represents a real gun. The one hundred dollars is paid providing that we obtain the gun from that individual. The funding source is our local merchants and civil clubs.
The department during the school year will go into each of the elementary and middle schools and teach gun safety. This is a prevention program, training children not to touch and guns they may find in their homes or on the way to school. This program is taught through the use of a video and prescribed lesson plans. There are no costs involved.
2. Contact person:
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
Copyright © 1999, US Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.