Ogden police plan to use CROSS to curb gang activity
The Associated Press
The Community, Re-Entry, Opportunities, Social and Suppression program — or CROSS — will debut in September, police Lt. Scott Conley said.
Funded through a state grant, the program was developed by the police department in conjunction with local judicial, education, religious and social services officials.
“It’s a new concept for law enforcement,” said Conley. “Word has gotten out about what we are trying to do. It’s been a long building process that will make a difference in the community.”
CROSS will be run by a pair of bilingual coordinators who will work with multiple agencies, including charities, Ogden’s schools, the Division of Child and Family Services, Department of Workforce Services, and the courts to identify at-risk youth and help them develop into productive citizens.
Participants will undergo a needs assessment by a licensed clinical social worker to identify areas that will aid them in getting back on track.
The plan is to work with 15 to 20 youth for a minimum of 10 weeks and as many as 160 youths a year. The program will serve individuals ages 14 to 18, said Vernon Hairston, the department’s civilian gang coordinator.
The program’s opportunities component will help participants access better jobs, education and training. A suppression component will address arrests, probation and imprisonment of offenders and facilitate communication between the police, juvenile justice services and the courts. A re-entry component aims to identify resources that will help participants chart a new direction.
“If we get five to 10 [youths] back on track [each year] and make them productive citizens, that would be huge,” Hairston said. “But we hope to do better than that.”
Julee Smith, executive director of the nonprofit Your Community Connection, said the CROSS program is definitely needed and will fit well with existing programs in the city.
“It will be a nice resource to have,” she said. “We need as much networking as possible to make sure that we connect the youth to the services they need.”