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Identify who is and who is not a potential threat

In the wake of tragic events unfolding around the country involving students with mental health issues or troubled backgrounds, the persistent question is, “How could anyone have known about this sooner?” We can speculate for each case, but as a partner to the communities we serve, we at DACRA Tech offer three recommendations for early intervention to help law enforcement identify who is and is not more of a potential threat – to other students, the larger community and to themselves.

Juvenile Police Officers

Outside of family and close friends, there may be no better key informants on a student’s erratic behavior than fellow students who see something and say something. Having one or two juvenile police officers who have their finger on the pulse of the personalities of the school is critical so that they can more easily identify a troubled student to school administrators. To be clear, we are not suggesting providing any weapons to students or replacing any adult officers. What we are suggesting is that fellow classmates see things and hear chatter from the “inside,” making each of them a key resource that officers desperately need. The earlier, the better.

Truancy Tickets

A student who is repeatedly missing school may have other reasons besides physical illness. This could be tracked through barcodes that scan student IDs in and out of the school. If the student’s ID has not been scanned, it’s a potential sign of truancy and a truancy ticket could be issued. DACRA Tech is in the process of working with such potential partners to identify how to bring this concept to fruition in many more schools. If we can identify truant students much sooner, officers can take action to follow up by visiting the residence.

Community Service Completion

DACRA Tech’s software actually identifies juveniles by date of birth. Juvenile data is treated differently than adult data in the fact that it may be expunged. The adjudication process is different for juveniles than for adults as far as different hearings so they are not co-mingled.

How might we potentially change behaviors from here for the better?

Let’s say a juvenile receives a ticket for possessing cannabis without the proper identification. A hearing officer, in lieu of a fine, can actually direct the juvenile to perform 30 hours of community service, for example, by adding this note to the findings decision.

This way, the juvenile’s probation officer or parents can see whether or not he or she has performed their proper community service in full. We upload this fact as evidence, keep that in the system and the hearing officer can then view that the juvenile has completed his community service. If a student didn’t perform their community service, we have a red flag that a follow-up from law enforcement must occur to ensure completion. Missing community service could point to larger issues in play.

We look forward to having these discussions with community leaders to see how law enforcement, schools, students, and our technology can work together to hopefully provide early intervention to troubled youth. In the process, we may be potentially preventing the next tragedy at school or anywhere in the community from occurring. Because one is too many. Let’s talk about it when you call DACRA Tech at 847.490.8440, email [email protected] or visit our Contact page.