With the encouragement of the Mayor and City Council, and the support of the City Manager, the police department has continued to expand its policing initiatives within the City. During this time, the City has established a model school based policing initiative and created a Community Justice Center/Reparative Board. Both of these initiatives are designed to provide early intervention and effective prevention to reduce the impact of criminal and anti-social behavior on our community. Because of our success in the area of prevention and early intervention, the State of Vermont, Department of Human Services, has enlisted our help to develop a model program for other communities. Members of the police department have participated in open discussions throughout Vermont providing assistance and guidance to interested communities.
In April of this year, the Winooski Police Department and Community Justice Center sponsored a two day training program for policy makers and human services practitioners. This training focused on what we, as stakeholders, should be doing to address the increase in risk behavior within our communities. Each day, 60 different individuals attended this training, hearing from national experts on youth development and the juvenile justice system.
Winooski continues to be a high needs community. Officers of the Winooski Police Department respond to one of the highest per-capita rates of incidents in the State of Vermont. Due to its transitory nature, it is very difficult for the City and the School District to have a lasting, positive impact on some of the families that move through our community. Through the combined efforts of a highly skilled and dedicated patrol force and our early intervention efforts, during this past year the number of incidents related to family and juvenile incidents has decreased by about 10% and the reported risk behavior at school has decreased as well.
Continuing our goal of coordinating resources to respond to the needs of our community, the Police Department and Community Justice Center created shared space for the Department of Corrections and Social Services within City Hall. This space is used by the field caseworkers that are assigned to the City of Winooski and will allow the free exchange of information between officers.
These are huge challenges for the members of the Winooski Police Department. Financial resources are very scarce. Prevention is very labor intensive, but the payoff is enormous. We will continue to invest our time and energy wisely to achieve maximum results.
The men and women of the Winooski Police Department are dedicated professionals who do their best to provide quality-policing services to our community. It is a difficult job, but we are more than up to it. Please visit our web page at www.winooskipolice.com to see what we are up to and take advantage or our feed back page to comment on our services.
(Steve McQueen, Chief of Police)