Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $988,550)
Teen And Police Service Academy:
Reducing & Preventing School Violence in Houston, TX; Grambling, LA; and Miami, FL.
C-BJA-2021-00148-PROD (Category 2 of O-BJA-2021-47003)
It is imperative that responses to school safety implement an evidence-based response that brings best practices of highly trained officers, working conjunctively with students, faculty, staff, parents and the community that has as its foundation legitimacy, procedural justice and the best practices of 21st Century Policing.
The Teen and Police Service (TAPS) Academy program implemented in 2012 from a COPS Grant has provided these principles and will continue to do so in high schools in Quality Opportunity Zones of Houston, Texas; Grambling, Louisiana; and Miami, Florida. Our theoretical foundation is simple and clear: social distance is reduced between youth and police, social bonding occurs, increased social bonding produces legitimacy and other aspects of procedural justice that decrease violence and crime and, in this case, will increase school safety.
TAPS Academy will serve 1600 youth directly and nearly 13,000 youth, faculty, staff and community members in and around the schools indirectly by enrolling the most at-risk youth in the TAPS Academy class where youth and police are equal, learning from one another through academic modules including conflict resolution, bullying, mental health, dating violence, victimization, gang affiliation, active shooter and interaction with the police to name a few. The TAPS Academy curriculum is certified by the Texas Department of Education to award one high school academic credit to students upon completion.
In addition, each school will have a highly trained team of TAPS Officers spearheading security assessment, implementation, and evaluation under the guidance of TAPS’ lead trainer, Dr. Everette Penn, a Criminology Professor and certified CPTED Instructor along with co-trainer and former Houston Police Department Chief, C.O. Bradford. Additionally, TAPS has partnered with the National School Safety Center to assist as officers and TAPS students work together to create a safe school, safe neighborhood, safe community.
Our planned documented success will apply theory to practice in order to be a tested model for wider implementation reducing youth and police social distance while increasing school safety.