Law Enforcement Makes New Efforts To Have Positive Relations

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Alachua County law enforcement is making a point to create a positive connection with the community—especially the youth.

“Often times, we only see their badge and their uniform and their gun instead of who they are as human beings,” said Jeffrey Weisberg, co-founder of the Gainesville Men’s Group.

Local law enforcement wants to be able to serve their citizens in a way other than just a call to 911. That’s why they are hosting community events like reading to the kids, barbecues and Coffee with a Cop.

The program is also designed to help reduce the number of teen arrests by creating a “youth dialogue” to allow cops to communicate with the kids in the area.

“You want to hold children accountable but you need to teach them something. They don’t need an arrest record because kids are kids and they’re doing silly kids stuff and they don’t recognize that they could possibly have a criminal charge for those types of things,” said Sgt. Paul Pardue, the Racial and Ethnic Disparity (RED) coordinator for the sheriff’s office.

Officials say that juvenile arrests have gone down from a couple hundred in 2012 to just 26 now.

“We’ve all done something in our life where if we got caught we may have been arrested and so we’re looking at how do we keep kids in particular out of the criminal justice system long enough so that they can learn some other skills of how to fulfill their owns goals and dreams and move forward,” Weisberg said.

Law enforcement hopes that this will create an opportunity for everyone to move forward, and an easier way to find common ground.

 

 

 

 

 

About Savanna Collins

Savanna is a reporter for WUFT News who may be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news @wuft.org

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