In an effort to keep kids safe and reduce crime, federal officials are teaming up with the Detroit Police for a truancy sweep today.
The effort is part of the Operation Safe Passage Task Force, an ongoing collaborative effort by federal, state and local law enforcement to reduce crime by and against children. The task force, created in 2011, netted 63 truant students during a sweep in April.
Officers are meeting at the Detroit Police Department’s Eastern District offices today at 1 p.m. to discuss the effort with the media, according to an announcement issued by Detroit Police.
The program was initiated with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives by Detroit Police Officer Monica Evans, who was a teacher for 12 years. Detroit Public Schools officials are also participating. The effort stems from a U.S. Justice Department report that found many of the nation’s prisoners listed truancy as their first offense. The task force has also organized patrols before and after classes at a number of Detroit schools to help students arrive and depart safely.
Designed to provide truant students positive alternatives, those caught out of school during the truancy sweeps are mentored, assigned to community service or provided support if issues are preventing them from attending classes. In last year’s sweep, two sisters, ages 11 and 15 said they were homeless and hadn’t attended school for two years. Other truants cited transportation problems, lack of housing and negligent parents.
The OSP Task Force also includes representatives from the Wayne County sheriff’s and prosecutor’s offices, the Michigan State Police and the United States Attorney’s Office.