This post was written by Elizabeth Conner. Elizabeth is an LEJA student at WIU, and this post is a summary of a project she presented to her Juvenile Justice class.
There are many different situations police respond to for juveniles. The big one that police respond to are abuse and neglect of a child in a home. The police response to a call of neglect or abuse is to access the situation and take the child into temporary custody without a warrant if they feel the child is in danger. This is to protect the child from any other harm that could come to them in the current situation they were in.
When interviewing the child there can be some challenges that arise that investigators should be aware of; many children do not want to tell the investigator anything out of fear of being taken away from their parents or guardian, they also are frightened by places they do not know with someone they are unfamiliar with so put them in a comfortable area and make it child friendly.
Police also work in school to deter students from a life of crime. There were many initiatives taken to try to accomplish this, but the best one is the Student Resource Officer (SRO) program. This has proven very effective to deter students from getting into a life of crime. The SRO program was created in 1958 in Flint, Michigan. Student Resource officers do not enforce school rule, but instead they work with the students, parents and school staff to apply preventative techniques for youths who are causing problems. Techniques include counseling the children and their parents, referring them to social agencies, and referring them to drug or alcohol agencies, however they still must remain in contact with the school daily.
Finally, a big problem in our society today is school shootings. There are four different types of threats that a child could make. The first is a direct threat. An example of a direct threat is “I’m going to put a bomb in John’s locker”. This is a big indicator that the child is going to do something traumatic. Second is an indirect threat. An example of this type is “If I wanted to, I could blow up this school”. Third is a veiled threat. An example of this threat is “We would all be better off if this school was destroyed”. Fourth are conditional threats. An example of this type is “If you do not go out with me I will blow up this school”. Not all threats are equal, but if you hear a child say something along these lines it should be investigated further. If a child does go through with the threatened violence the response of police is to go in immediately and try to force a surrender. The protocol used to be to wait for SWAT and more information, but the protocol has changed. This change was a positive change for the children who may have been killed while the first responder was waiting for either other officers or SWAT.