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Mayors, law enforcement join forces in youth safety project.

The safety of children and youth is the focus of a new partnership between mayors and law enforcement officials.

It is co-sponsored by NLC's Institute for Youth, Education, and Families (YEF Institute) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and is the YEF Institute's first federal agency partnership. It is backed by the Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services (COPS) at the U.S. Department of Justice.

The project, "Helping to Ensure the Safety of the Next Generation through Partnerships Between Mayors and Law Enforcement Officials," was launched in November with a meeting of a new Advisory Group on MayorLaw Enforcement Partnerships in Alexandria, Va. Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille and Police Chief Charles Samarra welcomed the participants.

The project responds to a rise in youth violence that some cities are experiencing, as well as the rising number of young people re-entering communities from secure placement. The project also focuses on a plethora of programs and initiatives whose design and impact has, in most cases, not been broadcast beyond city borders.

NLC was well-represented at the meeting by Daun Hester, vice-mayor of Norfolk, Va., and vice chair of the NLC's Council on Youth, Education, and Families, and by Charles "Chuck" Hughes, city council president of Gary, Ind., and chair of NLC's Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Advocacy Committee.

In addition, various elected and appointed officials, police executives and youth contributed their expertise on child and youth safety issues and pledged their commitment to help guide the initiative.

Themes that the advisory group discussed at its first meeting included:

* Necessity of police leadership.

* Advocacy for kids by police chiefs and officers.

* Need for police and partners to change the way they do business. Initiatives such as community-oriented policing and a citywide commitment to improved zoning enforcement stand as examples of such changes

* Necessity of community involvement and joint outreach by city leaders and police.

Lessons and examples from the project Will be featured in a publication in the COPS office "Innovations" series, future articles in Nation's Cities Weekly, material posted on NLC's website and conferences such as the Congress of Cities in Charlotte, N.C.

The focus will be on strategies that address juvenile violence, delinquency prevention, school policing, re-entry of youthful offenders, mentoring and parent support.

Project profiles will detail the respective roles and motivations of law enforcement--the police chief in particular--and mayors, as well as signs of success and evidence of impact. Profiles will also describe challenges cities and towns of various sizes have faced and surmounted in forming partnerships.

"Through this year-long project, the YEF Institute will identify and publicize promising and effective collaborations between mayors and law enforcement officials that ensure the safety of children and youth, and which can be replicated," noted Cliff Johnson, executive director of the YEF Institute.

Details: To be considered for inclusion in the project, cities should forward information about active, effective child safety partnerships between mayors and law enforcement to Melissa Rogers at (202) 626-3006 or rogers@nlc.org.
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Title Annotation:Institute for Youth, Education, and Families and International Association of Chiefs of Police
Author:Rogers, Melissa; Sandoval, Jessica
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 28, 2005
Words:501
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