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New program seeks help for juveniles before charges are placed

Posted at 6:28 PM, Apr 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-05 18:34:14-04

"Policing in the 21st century has inspired us to change the way we operate," Police Chief, Amal Awad said

Awad is speaking about a new juvenile program called Fresh Start. This plan is designed for first or second time juvenile offenders.

It seeks help for the juveniles before charges are placed and avoid damage to their reputation that may affect them down the road. Only minor offenses from those 18 and under are available for this program.

"2nd degree assault, disorderly conduct, destruction of property, marijuana less then 10 grams, as well as trespassing and any other offenses with chain of command approval."

The program is set up decriminalize the behavior while still holding the youth accountable. Police want early intervention for trauma, mental health or substance abuse.

County Police say juvenile crimes can be very sensitive, they are going to handle each case in an individual manor.

"All consequences are tailored to fit the individual needs of youth and are aligned with that child's present and future goals," said Timmeka Perkins.

Perkins and Corporal LeVere developed this program. It has been used in the past year in some districts around the county with good success. The program is voluntary for the juvenile offenders and the victim must give consent for the program to be initiated.

If the offender does not complete the services or has more legal problems, then the old cases and the new offenses will be adjudicated like they have been in the past.