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City of Fort Lauderdale GREAT Program

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2007, $143,788)

The Gang Resistance Education And Training (G.R.E.A.T.) program is a life-skills competency program designed to provide students with the skills they need to avoid gang pressure and youth violence. G.R.E.A.T.'s violence prevention curriculum helps students develop values and practice behaviors that will assist them to avoid destructive activities. The G.R.E.A.T. program coordinates with federal, regional, state and local agencies, as well as individuals from community and civic groups. The goal of the G.R.E.A.T. program is to train law enforcement officers in a school-based curriculum in which the officers provide instruction to school-aged children in life skill competencies, gang awareness, and anti-violence techniques. Training in the core G.R.E.A.T. program is provided to officers from any state or local law enforcement agency.

During the past year, the City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has experienced a 10 percent decrease in Part 1 crimes. Juvenile crime remains a constant problem. In 2004, there were 759 juvenile arrests and in 2005 there were 889 juvenile arrests. During the first nine months of 2006, there were 1,049 juvenile arrests. This equates to a 38 percent increase in juvenile arrests since 2004 (and the increase for adult arrests during the same period was 28 percent). Many of the juveniles that are arrested can be linked to particular gangs in the city. Although it is difficult to quantify the number of active gang members in Fort Lauderdale, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department (FLPD) focuses primarily on 17 clearly defined, major gangs operating within the city limits. As of February 1, 2006, according to the Broward County Sheriff's Office's gang intelligence database, there may be more than 2,996 active gang members or associates of youth gangs throughout Broward County.

The FLPD introduced the G.R.E.A.T. program to the city's public schools in 2000. To date, more than 5,000 elementary and middle school students have graduated from the Fort Lauderdale G.R.E.A.T. Program. The FLPD seeks federal funding to maintain its G.R.E.A.T. Program next year and to significantly expand the scope of the program by providing G.R.E.A.T. instruction in new environments and to new audiences. The FLPD has developed a comprehensive strategic plan with four new initiatives that will enhance its G.R.E.A.T. program:

(1) The percent of middle school students that receive G.R.E.A.T. education will be increased from 50 to 80 percent. (This equates to about 1,280 students in the City).

(2) G.R.E.A.T. Officers will return to teaching the program to 4th and 5th grade students throughout the City's elementary schools with a target of 60 percent or 1,870 students.

(3) G.R.E.A.T. Officers will begin teaching the Families Component in collaboration with the Florida Youth Athletic Association (FYAA).

(4) For the first time, the Middle School curriculum will be taught to day inmates at the Broward Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Fort Lauderdale.

In addition to the educational and recreational activities conducted on-site at the schools, the students will also have numerous opportunities to travel to off-site destinations. This will provide students with the opportunity to bond with one another and with the G.R.E.A.T. Officers.


Date Created: August 21, 2007