IACP Youth Focused Policing Agency Self Assessment Tool

As first responders, law enforcement officers make critical choices that affect youth every day,
including young victims, at-risk youth and juvenile offenders. Violent acts, bullying, drugs, sexual
assault, Internet crime, running away, family abuse, mental/emotional disorders, and suicides
are often, in frequent combination, part of the life of youth in America. Protecting youth and
children from victimization, in their homes, in schools, on the Internet, and on the street is a
fundamental obligation of police agencies. Thoughtful and evidence-based decisions made by
police officers during youth encounters, whether it be with a youth victim, suspect, or witness,
can, in many instances, have far-reaching benefits or unintended consequences for a young
person, the community, and, ultimately, public safety. Police are often the first contact youth
have with the justice system. These contacts can unintentionally be a gateway for a youth’s entry
into the juvenile justice system and possibly a future of adult criminal activities. Alternatively,
police contact with youth can be opportunities to intervene positively in the lives and futures of
young persons while ensuring public safety.

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