Arlington, TX: A Community Policing Story Arlington, TX - A Community Policing Story - Page 17

Lieutenant Tarrick McGuire Discusses Arlington’s Police-Youth Engagement Programs Lieutenant Tarrick McGuire of the Arlington Police Department and Principal Inelda Acosta of the Arlington Independent School District were awarded the 2016 L. Anthony Sutin Civic Imagination Award by then Director Ronald L. Davis of the COPS Office for their coordination of the Mentoring Arlington Youth (MAY) Program, which focuses on at-risk junior high male students. The police department also created the Coach 5-0 program to engage high school male athletes. Q: What inspired you to create the MAY Program? I was inspired to start the MAY program after a life-changing experience from earlier in my policing career. After arresting a young man for drug possession, I learned he was going through some issues. For example, he had dropped out of school, been kicked out by his mother, and had a child on the way. So I encouraged him to repair his relationship, re-enroll in school, and get a job. Several months later when I was sitting in a patrol car, he knocked on my window. He said that what I told him changed his life and that he had gone back to school, moved back in with his mother, and found a job to take care of his daughter. I understood, in that moment, what community policing was about: the value of balancing enforcement activity and It became clear pretty quickly that meeting the community’s needs. “ [these kids] already got all the attributes for leadership there. It’s just whether Q: What is the methodology of the MAY Program? I grew up in Oak Cliff, an inner city area of Dallas, so I knew what African- American men and other minorities went through to achieve success and that life to help them succeed and grow.” their view of success was either playing — Detective Hayden Perdue sports or selling drugs. I knew that Arlington Police Department the young men we were arresting were mostly minorities who were doing vio- lent crimes, and I wanted to start a mentoring program for them that didn’t center around athletics. Instead, I wanted to design a program that was evidence-based—focusing on the issue from a research perspective—in order to build the real-life skill sets of at-risk young men in Arlington, Texas. I knew that if we could create for these youth an alternative process for and measure of success prior to them engaging in a cycle of illegal activity, the outcomes would be better for their families and our overall community health. or not they’ve got the people in their 9