Police Chief Ruben Chavez is scheduled to present a new initiative to City Council members Tuesday, geared toward reducing gang violence.
Chavez said his department's in the midst of implementing its Community Enhancement and Safe Environments program, also known as CEASE. He expects to program to be fully implemented this month.
The program will focus on elementary and middle school-age children, with the hope of steering them away from the gang lifestyle. Chavez said his department will work with local schools, with officers acting as mentors and role models for the students.
Officers will adopt different schools, providing one-on-one mentoring for the students before, during and after school, he said.
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Chavez said the aim of the program is to help keep kids from joining gangs in the first place, before it's too late. "You cannot arrest your way out of a gang problem. We have to start at the lower (age) levels," Chavez said.
Additional aspects of the program include opening up Livingston High School’s old gym on Friday nights from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., twice a month, to give youth a safe place to play basketball and gather. He said the officers will also go on field trips with the youth.
Chavez said the program’s costs will be minimal, because most of the officers involved will participate while on duty, or volunteer in their spare time. The department held a gang prevention summit in February, providing parents with tips to help keep their kids out of gangs. The department is scheduled to hold its next gang prevention summit from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10.
Tuesday's City Council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at city hall, located at 1416 C St.
— Sun-Star staff