Waco Police Chief starting programs for community members & schools to reduce violence and crime

Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 5:42 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) -Waco Police Chief Sheryl Victorian is working to address crime and violence in the city.

The chief has set three pillars as part of her mission: prevention, intervention, and apprehension.

So far in 2022, the City of Waco has seen an increase of about 1 percent in violent crimes with increases in both murders and assaults.

“We need people to step up if they were witnesses and saw what was going on,” Chief Victorian said. “Let us know if they saw a person, a vehicle, and residents who may have cameras on their homes.”

But you can do more than report the crimes you see. The police department wants you to play a part in prevention. They are pursuing the idea of “violence interrupters”.

“If they are hearing of retaliation or someone is saying they are going to retaliate, or if an incident occurs in their area and they know that there is a potential for further violence, they go and call a truce or get these people in a room and sit down and talk to them, give them other options for handling their conflict,” Chief Victorian said.

The program will train people who want to volunteer, but Chief Victorian does want to specify that she does not want you to step into violent or dangerous situations. It’s all about stopping things from happening in the first place. That’s also why she is putting a focus on our youth.

“If we can do it now, that means in 5, 6, 7, 8 years, we won’t see them as suspects or offenders,” she said.

They are relaunching the Police Athletic League (PAL) program and starting a Teen and Police Service (PALS) Academy.

“At-risk youth are selected by the schools and then they put us all in a classroom to be able to have this 11-week curriculum with the kids who may be just as involved already and those who have the potential or the propensity to be just as involved,” Chief Victorian said.

Police want to have conversations about anti-bullying, conflict resolution, and show support for kids to make a difference in their future and the future of the community.

“On the back end, it’s almost too late for us,” Chief Victorian said. “By the time our kids put guns in their hands, they become a threat to police officers, to public safety, to our community.”

These programs will also talk about resources and how police can help kids escape gangs and violence.

Chief Victorian also say if you are concerned that your child might be involved with a gang or violence to reach out to learn what signs to look for and what resources are out there.

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