According to the St. Paul, Minnesota Police Department’s Police Chief, Thomas Smith, and John Choi of the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, successful juvenile curfew diversion programming requires partnerships, collaboration, and community support. In December 2011, the St. Paul Police Department started working with the IACP to develop a pilot curfew diversion program through IACP’s Intelligence-Led Community Policing, Community Prosecution, and Community Partnerships (IL3CP) Project. According to Chief Smith, the goals of their Curfew Diversion Program are “community engagement, problem solving, case administration, interagency partnerships, and reduced crime.” Based on results of an evaluation of the program, it is clear that the program met these goals; of the 159 referrals into the program, over 90% of the youth did not re-offend with a curfew offense. Chief Smith and Prosecutor Choi also cited other positive outcomes from the program, such as increased community support for the St. Paul Police Department, as well as strengthened partnerships between the community, the Police Department, and the County Attorney’s Office.
In a recent webinar hosted by IACP and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Chief Smith and Choi named five key lessons learned during the development, implementation, and evaluation of their Curfew Diversion Program:
- Executives from all law enforcement and prosecution agencies must agree to participate in the project
- Committed project teams should be established
- Key program goals and objectives should be identified
- An organized plan for the collection, analysis and dissemination of information is necessary
- Community involvement is essential
Smith and Choi emphasized the importance of communication and partnerships to make all program components possible.
You can hear more about the St. Paul Police Department’s Curfew Diversion Program by viewing IACP’s archived webinar, “Effective Youth Diversion Strategies for Law Enforcement,” which also includes an overview of the Miami-Dade, Florida Juvenile Services Department’s Juvenile Civil Citation Program.
View the archived webinar and handouts here.