Sgt. Loren Yonts
The Crime Prevention Unit provides a myriad of programs aimed at reducing criminal opportunity involving the citizens of our community. These include, but are not limited to, children and adult safety programs, robbery prevention, sexual assault prevention, as well as gang and drug prevention / awareness programs.
In addition, the Crime Prevention Unit is responsible for hosting the highly successful Citizens Police Academy (CPA). The focus of the CPA is to provide the attendees with a basic understanding of how the various operational components of the Police Department are comprised and function.
Juvenile Diversion Program
The Owensboro Police Department’s Juvenile Diversion Program is a five phase intervention plan for juveniles in grades five through nine. Juveniles are required to participate in the program in lieu of appearing before a juvenile judge and are referred by the Court Designated Workers Office.
During the five phase program, the students participate in a lock-in, receive classroom instruction and mentoring from adult volunteers, complete a community service project and attend a motivational seminar. The goal of the program is to break the cycle of crime that befalls many of our troubled youth today through early intervention.
Citizen’s Police Academy
The OPD Citizen’s Academy gives the students an inside glimpse at the function and procedures of the Owensboro Police Department. Mixing lecture and an interactive practical application learning environment, participants are allowed to meet members from the Police Department’s Administration, Patrol, Investigations, Narcotics, Polygraph, Evidence Collection, Street Crimes, Public Safety, Training and Crime Prevention Units. The “hands on” practical exercises include training with the department’s K-9 Unit, observing a polygraph, identifying various kinds of narcotics including methamphetamine, Emergency Response Team demos, and firing various weapons used by the Police Department. Click HERE for an application and more information.
Explorer Post 766
The intent of the Owensboro Police Department law enforcement explorer post 766 is to educate high school and college students between the ages of 14 to 20 who are interested in a career in the field of law enforcement. In practical exercises based on Police situations the students learn what the dedicated professionals that serve and protect this community face on a daily basis. The Explorers also utilize their knowledge in structured competitions held on a regional and local level, allowing a unique networking opportunity. Click HERE for an application and more information.
School Resource Officer Program
The SRO program provides a sworn police officer at Owensboro High School to act as a liaison between the Police Department and the school, to handle complaints at the school and to provide instruction, counseling and training for the students, facility and staff. The Owensboro Police Department is currently in the fourth year of the program.
The Owensboro Police Department’s D.A.R.E. Officers are responsible for implementing and coordinating the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program.
D.A.R.E. is a police officer-led series of classroom lessons that teach children from kindergarten through 7th grade how to resist peer pressure and live productive, drug- and violence-free lives. The program was developed as a joint effort between the Owensboro Police Department and the Owensboro School District. It initially focused on elementary school children, but has now been expanded to include middle school students.
D.A.R.E. goes far beyond traditional drug abuse programs that emphasize drug identification and the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol. D.A.R.E. teaches children the skills they need to recognize and resist the subtle and overt pressures that may lead them to experiment with drugs and alcohol. Police officers are utilized as regular classroom instructors to teach the various D.A.R.E. curricula.
The primary goal of D.A.R.E. is the prevention of substance abuse, gang affiliation and involvement in violence among school children. D.A.R.E. accomplishes this goal by:
Providing students with accurate information about alcohol and drugs
Teaching students how to say “no” to drugs while providing alternatives to drug use
Teaching students decision-making skills and about the consequences of their behavior
Building students’ self-esteem and teaching them to resist peer pressure
A new program implemented in 2012 and offered to grades 2, 4, 6, and 8, Character Counts is designed to teach children a consistent set of values which are modeled by the police officers, teachers, and others involved in the program. The program is based on the six Pillars of Character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. These elements will help children make better choices and provide a framework for ethical living.
Neighborhood Watch Program
Currently, the Crime Prevention Unit is involved with 54 Neighborhood Watch programs. While the Police Department does not actually establish the group, they will provide interested parties with information, suggestions, materials, and guidance to help the group get started.
How does a Neighborhood Watch work?
It works by showing residents they are not powerless against crime. Neighborhood Watch is a series of programs designed to promote neighborhood safety in response to the growth of residential areas and the crime rate increase that results from such growth. The main focus of Neighborhood Watch is crime prevention at the neighborhood level. However, traffic problems, street/yard cleanup, noise control and unwanted solicitation, are other issues dealt with through Neighborhood Watch. In conjunction with these programs, the police are relying on you to do your part in the protection of yourself, your family, and your property. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to establish adequate home security in addition to practicing good safety habits.
A Neighborhood Watch Program can provide:
Crime Prevention Training: For example, a Watch group can invite law enforcement and security experts to speak about safety measures.
Victim Assistance: Watch groups can provide support by helping crime victims contact the police or sheriff and local victim-assistance programs.
Improving Conditions: Neighborhood neglect invites crime. Organize cleanups and work with local government to get abandoned buildings and vacant lots fixed up.
Neighborhood Watches don’t replace law enforcement. Working with the police is important!
Crime Prevention Site Links
Citizen’s Police Academy
Neighborhood Watch Program
False Alarm Program