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Bernard K. Melekian, Director of Office of Community Orienting Policing Services"The critical role that local law enforcement officers play in the defense of children cannot be overstated.

Law enforcement officers have a critical responsibility in protecting young people from violence and disorder. As first responders, they deal with both victims and suspects in the epidemic of youth violence that threatens our nation’s children.

It is also law enforcement who first responds to calls of neglect and abuse. It is the responding officers who will determine whether society’s resources are made available in a way that contributes to breaking the generational cycle that is so often present in these kinds of incidents. In effect, they are the gatekeepers between the child and the societal support required to ensure the child’s safety and long-term well being.

Law enforcement officers are often unaware of the powerful role models that they provide to young people. This is especially true in high crime neighborhoods. They provide a powerfully visible alternative to the violence and fear that are all too often part of the daily lives of children. Often law enforcement is the only component of local government that young people, and their parents, ever see. Officers should never lose sight of that fact. There should be no more dead, broken or exploited children in this country! There should never be any “throw-away” children in our society! The truth or falsity of these noble statements will be determined by local law enforcement working in partnership with the community and other government agencies. The investment of time and resources into the welfare of our children is an investment into the future of this country."

Resource

Child Development Community Policing
The Child Development - Community Policing Program (CD-CP) is a collaboration of law enforcement, the juvenile justice system, mental health field, domestic violence, child welfare, schools, medical, and various other community agencies. Launched in 1991, a partnership of the City of New Haven, New Haven Department of Police Service and the Yale Child Study Center. It has been replicated in various communities and is a model for collaborative intervention, which provides opportunities to develop effective ways of intervening with children and families exposed to violence. The focus is from the child’s perspective and experiences.

Children Exposed to Violence: A Handbook for Police Trainers to Increase Understanding and Improve Community Responses, Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System and National Center for Children Exposed to Violence (2002)
This train-the-trainer manual addresses topics such as understanding the needs of children, risk reduction and safety planning, and dual arrest. It features case examples, "at-a- glance" information, community resources, answers to frequently asked questions and references.

Cops, Kids and Domestic Violence: Protecting Our Future (Video and Print Packet) – National Child Traumatic Stress Network (2006)
This 20-minute training is intended for individual or group settings for law enforcement officers who come into contact with children while on the scene of a domestic violence call. The video is supplemented by a written overview with background and procedural information.

Guide for Preventing and Responding to School Violence, International Association of Chiefs of Police (2009)
This guide addresses both prevention and intervention from a systemic view, clarifying the roles of the school, the community, families, law enforcement and the justice system and how these groups can work together effectively to respond to the problem of school violence. Topics include threat assessment, crisis planning during and after a crisis, legal issues, and working with the media.

Community Oriented Policing: Topics, Youth Safety
Resources and publications available about collaborative and innovative policing, one major topic is youth safety that includes child abuse and neglect, bullying, and exposure to community and family violence. Every year, millions of children and adolescents in the United States are impacted by violence, neglect and abuse in their homes, schools, and communities. Police can and do play an important role in protecting youth from violence and other risks, and in preventing youth from engaging in acts of crime and disorder.

Western Community Policing Institute
The Western Community Policing Institute (WCPI) is working to address the need to build and enhance youth-police partnerships in tribal agencies. WCPI has develop a 36-hour Tribal Youth Partnerships for Public Safety training course and providing both train-the-trainer and standard deliveries of the training in tribal communities. WCPI is also addressing the need to build and enhance executive leadership in tribal agencies.

Biography of Bernard K. Melekian, Director of Office of Community Orienting Policing Services, US Department of Justice

As Director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), Bernard Melekian leads an organization responsible for working closely with the nation’s state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to enhance the safety of communities by advancing community policing. Director Melekian is committed to using COPS Office programs and resources to help law enforcement build relationships and solve problems, which he views as the cornerstone of effective community policing. Mr. Melekian was the Police Chief for the City of Pasadena, California for more than 13 years before assuming leadership of the COPS Office. He also served with the Santa Monica Police Department for 23 years where he was awarded the Medal of Valor in 1978 and the Medal of Courage in 1980.


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