The Anti-Crime Unit was recognized this morning by the Florida Gang Investigators Association (F.G.I.A.) as Gang Unit of the Year. Agents Nealy, Mooney, and Louis targeted an on-going crisis with youth violence and thus implemented– Reduction Intervention Prevention, R.I.P. The program brought together the resources of local community leaders, leaders from the faith- based community and other public and private entities to identify and assist young people who are at vulnerable points in their lives. The program is aimed toward first time felony offenders to provide them the necessary resources and mentoring in hopes they will become productive members of the community. Many of these youth are or have been involved in gang related activity. The goal of this program is to reach out to offenders and provide them alternate resources in hopes they will choose to become valuable members of the community and lower the recidivism rate.
Despite the fact this effort is in its infancy, the early result are extremely encouraging. As the past approach to address youth violence clearly has not been successful, this program is an important alternative approach to combat youth violence and attempt to break the cycle. During the first six months, 79 offenders have been placed in R.I.P. Program leaders report the majority of participants accepted assistance from at least one of the partnering agencies. Due to the efforts of this unit, the success of the program and their contribution to our community, the operation was recently selected by the Senior Management Institute for Police (S.M.I.P.) as one of 30 programs out of 150 applicants from around the country to be presented at an upcoming conference in Seattle, WA. We are proud of our agents and the success R.I.P. has made in the community to curb youth violence.