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Tallahassee Police Department working to update juvenile and adult diversion programs

They also want to implement restorative justice
Posted at 11:31 PM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 23:31:34-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Getting people who commit a crime to realize the harm they've caused...that's what TPD is trying to do.

"It's not merely a diversion but it's healing for the victim, their family, the offender and their family, basically the members of our community," said Kelly McGrath.

The Tallahassee Police Department is working with the City Commission to revamp the Juvenile Civil Citation Program and Adult Pre-Arrest Diversion Program. Plus, they want to introduce restorative justice to the community by bringing victims and offenders together to make it right.

At Wednesday's City Commission meeting, community members spoke out in support of the initiative.

"Takes a community perspective to identify what harm was done, who was harmed, and how can the community work together to repair," said Michael McBride.

The Juvenile Civil Citation Program isn't's been a part of TPD for the last 25 years. It's designed to divert juveniles prior to arrest, hold them accountable for delinquent behavior, involve parents in the disciplinary process, and prevent future involvement in crime. But the juvenile has to qualify, meaning the crime they commit must fall under a certain category. From there, the officers work with case managers to determine community service hours and other sanctions.

"So we've had some discussion internally prior to the last commission meeting ways to make our program more progressive and include more juveniles in the diversion," said Tallahassee Police Department Deputy Chief, Jason Laursen.

All of this was part of a discussion item at Wednesday's meeting and commissioners said they would like to see more flexibility and changes to the program which they unanimously passed.

"Also some guidance of let's get a little creative again anytime that we can have a positive impact without incarceration that's the goal," said Tallahassee Mayor, John Dailey.

They still need to figure out action and policy items with TPD to bring back for future meetings. However, any changes to the program must be approved by the State Attorney.

TPD says they have a meeting to evaluate some of those changes with other local law enforcement and the State Attorney's Office in early May.