Sheriff seeks to curb youth crime via early intervention

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– Barnstable County Sheriff James M. Cummings has joined “Fight Crime: Invest in Kids,” a national organization of over 5,000 law enforcement executives who know firsthand that helping at-risk kids prepare for school is what fosters academic success and reduces their entanglement in crime.

Mindful of that, Sheriff Cummings recently endorsed a letter to Congresswomen Catherine Clark (D-Massachusetts) supporting the formation of a bipartisan caucus to explore ways to expand access to these initiatives and attract more kids across the country.

The research is clear that high-quality early learning can provide lasting benefits. A study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that at-risk kids were significantly more likely to graduate high school and avoid future run-ins with the law when provided with resources and interventions early.

For the last five years, Sheriff Cummings has offered Gang Resistance Education and Training, “GREAT” for short, in the Mashpee middle schools. Although gaining strong traction nationwide, this was its first introduction to Cape Cod. The violence-prevention curriculum teaches skills that help students avoid gangs, drugs, crime, and their attendant violence.

Besides having two fulltime deputy sheriffs working inside Barnstable County schools, Sheriff Cummings has created a summer Youth Academy. This collaborative effort brings together specially trained staff from correctional, educational, police and treatment facilities to provide a supportive environment, one in which the county’s youth (ages 12 to 16) can develop appropriate social skills and increased resiliency. The current academy is in week two of its month-long run.

Sheriff Cummings stated, “The quote that ‘It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men’ is truer today than ever before. It is my goal to build on our successes here in Barnstable County and leverage the work of ‘Fight Crime: Invest in Kids’ to ensure we reach as many at-risk children as possible. I am proud that despite budget challenges, we have been able to add to the services we provide here on Cape.”
Media release and photo furnished by Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office

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