juvenile-civil-citation-programThe Florida Department of Juvenile Justice provides an alternative to arresting juveniles who have committed first-time misdemeanor offenses; the Juvenile Civil Citation.

It is well-known in the school policing community how easy it is to effect a physical arrest by placing handcuffs on a juvenile, writing an arrest form, completing an incident report and transporting the child to the Juvenile Assessment Center.

By contrast, a juvenile civil citation requires much more time and effort from the police officer as a means of ensuring juveniles get the best possible chance at correcting their delinquent behaviors which have resulted in misdemeanor crimes.

F.O.P. Lodge #133 is extremely proud of the earnest work accomplished over the years by our police officers in providing our children with a “second chance.”

As an added bonus, the civil citation program saves taxpayers millions of dollars every year that would otherwise be spent on arrested youth who would normally go through a formal juvenile delinquency program.

Here’s how it works:

Once there is probable cause that certain misdemeanors have occurred and a juvenile is the offender, the police officer may issue a civil citation. Unlike an arrest where an individual is taken into custody and an arrest form is generated and the subject is transported to the proper intake facility, the civil citation, believe it or not, is much more time consuming and requires close monitoring by several entities.

With all civil citations, there is a verification process to determine whether or not the juvenile meets the criteria for the program. After determining that the juvenile meets the criteria, an arrest form along with the completed citation and release agreement must be completed. The juvenile must then be released to a competent adult or guardian. The police officer delivers the completed package to his police station and it is forwarded to the appropriate facility.

The State Attorney’s office will then communicate with the Juvenile and the guardian to make sure the program has been successfully completed. If the program has not been completed to the satisfaction of the State Attorney’s office, then the arrest form which was written by the school resource officer will be utilized and the case can be set for trial. Even though the civil citation program has been offered in these situations, the school administration will handle punishment according to the student code of conduct in the best interest of all.

One of the main goals of the program besides the obvious alternative to the criminal justice system is that the school resource officer initiating the program will follow up with the juvenile and see that other resources are utilized. The officer will usually include the juvenile’s guardian, school counselor, the school administration and even the school psychologist if necessary.

The goal is to open the lines of communication between the juvenile and the school community so that we may attempt to prevent future delinquent behaviors and will end the pipeline from school to jail.

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #133 realizes that children make mistakes and endorses the use of the effective civil citation program for the greater good of our children.