New guide offers advice to teens on criminal behavior, cops

By Sean Webby

Hoping it will find a place along with “Animal Farm” and “Julius Caesar” in high school kids’ backpacks, the San Jose Independent Police Auditor is coming out with an updated edition of the “Students’ Guide to Police Practices.”

IPA Director Barbara Attard and Police Chief Rob Davis hope the free 36-page pamphlet will help teens learn about how to make the right choices about criminal behavior — whether as a victim or as a potential perpetrator — and how to deal with cops.

“I think the new guide deals with some very scary issues, issues that difficult to talk about,” Attard said “But we are hoping it will be useful to parents and teens and open up communication.”

The guide was largely crafted by IPA’s public education specialist Diane Doolan. It was reviewed by the police department, the district attorney’s office, the public defenders’ office, the city manager and community members.

The IPA has printed 15,000 of the books — in English, Spanish and Vietnamese — and are burning 10,000 CDs. They will be handed out in city schools, community meetings and juvenile detention centers.

The pamphlet is also available on the IPA’s Web site at:

The pamphlet first came out five years ago, under the direction of the former IPA director Teresa Guerrero-Daley. It was reprinted in 2006. The latest update was almost completely rewritten. It includes many new sections, including one on street racing .

“Don’t put your car and freedom on the line,” the guide says.

One of the most comprehensive sections is a guide to behavior when dealing with a police officer. It suggests teen should follow directions, tell the truth, avoid sudden movements and to never hit an officer.

Another section teaches students about their rights and responsibilities when being arrested — for example, calling your girlfriend or boyfriend counts as one of your two free, local phone calls.

It also suggests what to do and not to do if you feel you have been racially profiled or have been abused by an officer.

“If an interaction with a police officer goes bad, the time to protest is not in the middle of it, Attard said. “If an issue arises, come and file a complaint about it later.”

A newly emphasized theme that runs throughout the whole guide is “respect.”

The guide opens with a text box, which concludes that “Respect is a sign of strength and intelligence.”

Sections on hate crimes and gang activity are also new.

“If you join a gang it may be difficult to get out,” the pamphlet says. “The gang may not let you quit so it’s best not to join in the first place.”

Attard also highlighted a new section on dating and abuse

“Often when people are in abusive relationships they are afraid to reach out and get help,” she said. “This section makes it very clear on how to recognize the signs of an abusive relationship and talks about how to get help.”

At the end of the pamphlet there is a 10-page guide to resources, including phone numbers and e-mails for suicide hot lines, drug abuse programs, gang abatement programs and Clean Slate — a tattoo removal program.

The guide cost about $42,000 to create, Attard said. It was paid for through budgets of the IPA, the police department, the city’s Parks and Recreation program and the City Manager’s office.

Posted by on Sep 30 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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