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Chief's Chair: Three-pronged attack

Editor's note: In anticipation of police chiefs worldwide making the trip to Chicago for IACP, PoliceOne asked you to sit in the chief's chair and tell us what you would do if you were chief of police. We read every submission and selected some standouts from among those we received.

By James Rayroux

I would create and implement a three-pronged attack on reducing long-term crime across our entire community. The overall goal of this initiative is to allow police officers, community organizations, education and training facilities, local businesses, and community stakeholders to work together from their respective areas of expertise to provide willing participants the opportunity to better themselves through job training, education, mentorship, and philanthropy. The three overall organizational groups are the Police Intelligence Unit and School Resource Officers, Schools and Community (Profit and Non-Profit) Organizations, and a Local Stakeholder Alliance.

Intelligence officers and SROs, while in the course of their normal work (both criminal and intelligence investigations), often identify families or individuals who, through choice or circumstances beyond their control, are faced with little opportunity for honest, gainful employment. Schools and Community Organizations often learn of other individuals in this position through their own membership rolls and civil/non-criminal interaction. Local businesses, education facilities/community colleges, trade unions, faith-based organizations, community advocacy groups, and other local community stakeholders can assist by providing tax-deductible funding, volunteers, mentors, educators, professional trades/craftsman, facilities, classrooms, and apprenticeship programs to allow willing participants an opportunity, through their own efforts, to better themselves and their families. These participants can be afforded the opportunity AT NO COST to earn their GED, learn a trade or skill, and put these skills to work at businesses in their own communities.

I believe this community-wide partnership creates support from across all socioeconomic and cultural demographics. It is NOT a handout program as it relies on individual effort, trust, willing participation, and is driven predominantly by the hearts of volunteer organizers and educators. It is run and administered by community stakeholders with only peripheral police involvement to avoid distrust/government oversight fears. A program such as this has the potential to significantly reduce LONG-TERM crime in a community by helping relieve the typical barricades (lack of access to education and employment) that, along with drug use, arguably drive the overwhelming majority of crime.

Thank you for the opportunity to present Chief-size ideas for the upcoming conference.

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