The Pulaski County sheriff’s workplace has been awarded a federal grant of $600,000 that may go towards the company’s youth outreach and mentor applications, the sheriff mentioned at a Thursday information convention.
The cash, which comes from the Division of Justice’s Workplace of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, will go into the Junior Deputy program, which celebrates its seventy fifth anniversary this yr, Sheriff Eric Higgins mentioned.
That program, based in 1947 by Sheriff Tom Gulley, goals to fight juvenile delinquency by educating the county’s teenagers and schoolchildren about character and profession alternatives, notably regulation enforcement careers, in accordance with a information launch accompanying the announcement.
The grant will let the sheriff’s workplace renew a partnership with the Junior Deputy Baseball Park in Little Rock and strengthen relationships with college districts within the county, in addition to create extra applications.
“We nonetheless see the necessity to spend money on our youth,” Higgins mentioned.
The latest of those is a cooperation with Massive Brothers Massive Sisters of Central Arkansas to deliver their Bigs With Badges program to the county, mentioned Raymond Lengthy, CEO of Massive Brothers Massive Sisters of Central Arkansas.
This system will open the door for Pulaski County deputies to function grownup mentors, referred to as ‘bigs,’ to be paired with youth mentees, referred to as ‘littles.’
Offering emotional help for the state’s youth is the inspiration of stopping youth violence, Lengthy mentioned, and harassed that “bridging and therapeutic relationships with regulation enforcement officers” is essential for the county’s younger folks.
“All of us must be biased towards motion” in terms of making certain kids have dependable mentors and profession alternatives accessible to maintain them from crime, Lengthy mentioned.
Lengthy on Thursday launched the primary pairing within the new program: mentor Deputy Justin Johnson and mentee Justin Henderson, a sixth-grader at Mills Center Faculty.
The Bigs With Badges program aligns with the 4 core parts of the county’s initiative to maintain juveniles out of crime and meet the wants of at-risk youth, mentioned Brian Miller, administrator of the Junior Deputy program.
These tenets embrace holding non-offending youngsters reminiscent of runaways or truants out of jails, separating juvenile and grownup inmates in jails, transferring youths to juvenile-specific services to deal with their trauma and lowering the disproportionate contact of minority youth with the justice system, Miller mentioned.
The variety of youths from minority teams who’re victims and suspects in juvenile circumstances has reached “epidemic ranges” within the nation, Miller mentioned.
“We won’t arrest our means out of this example. It will take real love within the type of incentivized mentoring with expectations,” Miller mentioned.
Mentees in Pulaski County applications know the behavioral and tutorial requirements their mentors have for them, but additionally obtain recommendation and encouragement to achieve these objectives, mentioned Sgt. Willie Davis, who Miller referred to as “the Lebron James of mentoring.”
“We empower these younger girls and boys to excel,” Davis mentioned.
Members of this system who meet their tutorial objectives are rewarded with particular journeys and enjoyable actions, which must also assist incentivize others to set and meet mentorship objectives.
Moreover, Davis mentioned he thinks it is essential for the deputies working with youngsters to kind a private connection and get to know their mentees.
“They’ve to know that their names imply one thing, their names are vital to us,” Davis mentioned.