CAMPUS BASED POLICE/ PROBATION TEAMS
1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.
The police/probation teams have offices on campus and the probation officer’s case load is based on the school the probationer would be attending. Previously the case load was based on the first letter of the last name. This meant the probationers residence could be anywhere in the county and the officers ability to make contact was hampered severely.
Probationers check in during school with their probation officer. If the probationer is not in school, the team is made aware at the time of the absence.
The police officer investigates criminal activity and in concurrence with the probation officer handles the incident either formally or informally. Parents are contacted and hearings are conducted on campus. In the event of informal probation, violators are given work programs administered by the Fresno County Probation Office, given other referrals, or agree to paying retribution as indicated.
In addition the police/probation officer teams conduct formal juvenile probation searches of the residences of minors on the probation officer’s case load.
2. When was program created and why?
In the fall of 1993, campus-based police/probation teams were assigned to seven high schools as a collaborative effort by the Fresno Police Department, the Fresno County Probation Department, and the Fresno Unified School District, to reduce juvenile crime and improve school safety.
3. How do you measure the program’s effectiveness?
In the year prior to implementation the numbers of arrests in our schools were tracked in six major categories and were startling. There were 986 arrests for loitering, 55 arrests for battery on a teacher, 2 arrests for assault with a deadly weapon on a teacher, 12 arrests for assault with a deadly weapon on a student, 49 arrests for possession of a firearm, and 151 arrests for possession of other weapons.
After 5 years of operation the program has shown loitering down 80%, battery on teachers down 64%, ADW on teachers down 50%, ADW on students down 25%, possession of firearms down 90%, and possession of other weapons down 37%.
As a result of its success three more police/probation officer teams have been added. One is assigned to cover a high school in the Central Unified School District that is within the Fresno City limits. The other two teams are assigned to three middle schools each as well as the elementary schools that feed in to them.
4. How is the program financed?
Police officers positions are budgeted by the city. The school district provides office space, computers, and facilities to house police vehicles. The school district provides for 50% of the juvenile probation officers’ salary.
5. How is community involved in the program, if at all? How has the community responded to the program?
The presence of these teams has not only reduced crime on the campus but assisted the school administrations with training and information enabling them to identify gangs and gang dress. This has enabled them to restrict the wearing of gang colors on campus which in turn has reduced gang confrontations and greatly enhanced school safety. In addition informational in-services for parents are conducted at the school sites by the police officers. These proved very effective and have opened a dialogue between community groups and law enforcement.
6. Contact person:
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
Copyright © 1999, US Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.