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Jamaica Implements School Resource Officer Training

KINGSTON, Jamaica – In May 2009, The Florida Association for Volunteer Action in the Caribbean and the Americas, Inc. (FAVACA) in conjunction with United States Agency for International Development’s Community Empowerment and Transformation (COMET) project and the US Department of State’s Narcotics Affairs Sections from Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic held a regional gang violence reduction strategy workshop and study tour.

As a result of this workshop and study tour, the Jamaican Ministry of National Security and the Jamaica Constabulary Force found the need to enhance the training of School Resource Officers (SROs) in the areas of crime prevention in schools, violence reduction and the dismantling of gangs.

SROs are police officers trained to operate in schools and they provide assistance to the school leadership in dealing with incidents of violence, drugs, and gangs.

The SRO program is the link between crime prevention in communities and crime prevention in schools. FAVACA, the Ministry of National Security and COMET held a training in Ocho Rios, Jamaica September 24-27, 2009 to train SROs on the best practices in dealing with the prevention of youth gang activities.

First time volunteers, Sargent William Taggle and Captain Ian Moffett, Miami, are with the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department along with first time volunteer Renee Parker, a Project Coordinator from the Miami Partnership for Actions in Communities Task Force (MPACT), provided three days of training to help SROs to recognize potential at-risk youth, methods to reduce gang presence in schools, and methods to involve the community in keeping schools safe from drugs and gangs.

As a result of the training, over 20 SROs were trained from across the country and those trained will begin training other SROs in their local communities.

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