Greenville Police Initiative Garners National Recognition
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is putting the spotlight on a Greenville Police Department (GPD) program. The DOJ’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is highlighting Project Equal – a partnership between the GPD and Pitt County Schools – as a positive example of programs which are innovative and working.
Project Equal is a crime prevention and intervention program that focuses on modifying and improving student and adult behaviors. It has goals of reducing the number of minority youth in the justice system, reducing out of school suspensions, and improving communication and contact with law enforcement and school staff. Elements of the program include:
- Training for School Resource Officers (SROs) to handle three roles: law enforcement, counselor, and teacher. Officers deliver seminars to eighth graders on how to show law enforcement officers respect, honesty, and courtesy with the goal of improving contact with officers.
- Training for faculty and staff on how best to handle students with behavior problems. They learn a common approach to discipline, clearly defined expectations for all, and procedures for encouraging positive behaviors while disciplining appropriately for the level of behavior. Staff also learns how to regularly monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the program.
- A training program for faculty called “Teaching with Poverty in Mind.” This helps faculty and SROs determine which problematic behaviors may be because of socioeconomic problems rather than character issues.
- An Out of School Suspension (OSS) Reduction program where Students in grades 6-12 are given community/school service instead of out-of-school suspension for Category I and II violations.
Results of the program have been impressive system-wide. In the first year of the program, the suspension rate was reduced by 32.74% with more than 27,000 hours of instruction saved.
In part, because of the success of this and other programs, the Greenville Police Department was recognized by Pitt County Schools as System-wide Volunteer of the Year.
For more information, please contact Joe Friday at 329-4372.
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