Police Blotter

Middle School Outreach Program for At-Risk Youth, July 2012

July 1, 2012 8:41 AM

By Police Officer, Jodi Nelson


The North Police District has started an initiative this summer involving both Sherman and Blackhawk Middle Schools along with police officers from the North District. Prior to the school year ending, Captain McLay, Lieutenant Strasburg, and I met with the principles from both middle schools, as well as Luis Yudice, to discuss and implement a Middle School At-risk Youth Mentoring Program. The idea for this program is to establish a stronger personal connection between the schools, students, parents, and MPD. We (North Police District) proposed that both Sherman and Blackhawk Middle Schools identify youth that are demonstrating behaviors that are unfavorable within the school and community. These students may be able to benefit from some support and guidance from MPD. Kids at this age are very vulnerable and are often faced with conflict.

At-risk youth are often looking for acceptance and activities that they are interested in being part of. Unfortunately, some of these youth find these things by engaging in criminal activity and/or joining a gang. The focus of our outreach program is to meet periodically with these students to check-in with them and offer any support and help they may need. This will continue throughout the summer, as well as into the beginning of the school year to aid in their transition into East High School. The Educational Resource Officer will be plugged in at this time.

The youth will be monitored throughout the summer and into the school year. MMSD will track their performance and behaviors at school. This will be compared to other atrisk students who did not receive the above support, which will in turn determine the effectiveness of the mentoring program. MPD will be looking at the success of this program in the North Police District, as the hope is to implement this plan city-wide in the coming school year.

As a police officer with the Crime Prevention Gang Unit, I will be involved in this initiative and making home visits with these kids throughout the summer. There are two other police officers from the North District who are participating and have been assigned as liaisons between MPD and both Sherman and Blackhawk Middle Schools. Police Officer Sean Ziegler is assigned to Blackhawk Middle School. PO Ziegler works first detail patrol, 7am – 3 pm. Police Officer Chark Vang is assigned to Sherman Middle School. PO Vang works second detail patrol, noon – 8pm.

If you have any questions or comments about this program, please feel free to contact
me (jnelson2@cityofmadison.com). You may also contact the North Police District.

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