Police hope to reach youth with interactive computer program

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Reaching out to youth was just one of the themes at an Indianapolis east side community conversation meeting on Thursday evening.

Residents living in IMPD’s east district discussed everything from how to help people re-enter the workforce after getting out of prison or jail, to abandoned homes, to curbing crime, to giving youth something positive and productive to do after school.

Police also discussed some of their initiatives to reach youth on their level. One of those initiatives is an interactive computer program called Juvenile Justice Jeopardy. Police said they’ll roll the program out later this summer.

The company, Strategies for Youth, deploys the game. It’s designed to create a conversation with youth on their level, about the consequences of certain behaviors and how they can and should interact with police.

It’s created specifically to teach kids Indiana law.

East District Commander James Waters said east side businesses stepped up and gave $15,000 dollars in funding, to purchase 10 licenses for the game.

“We think getting ahead of the problem, with something like that, taking a social approach to crime reduction, will really help improve quality of life here in the east district,” said Waters.

Commander Waters said the program will most likely be deployed in late June. He said the company will come back, load the game on police computers, and train 10 officers on how it works. It will likely be early July when they’re able to start implementing the game with kids and parents.

Waters says this all started, after they applied and received a grant, to get the company Strategies for Youth, to come out and implement a program for officers called ‘Policing the Teen Brain.’ It focuses on educating officers on the adolescent brain development. It also teaches kids how to better respond to officers, and teaches parents how to work with police as well. Waters says the culmination of all that training is ‘juvenile justice jeopardy.’

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