Letters to the Editor - July 30, 2008

Getting a handle on juvenile crime

To the editor:

I am writing to commend the Clayton County Police Department -- under the leadership of Chief Jeffrey E. Turner -- and Clayton County Juvenile Court Judge Steven C. Teske, for the wonderful, successful, and effective way both are combating the rise in crime and criminal activities committed by youths and juveniles in Clayton County.

I specifically want to give reconition to Chief Turner's Community Policing Program, which he instituted when he was promoted to the chief's position by the Clayton County Board of Commissioners in March of 2007, and the Parental Responsibility And Control Protocol Order of the Juvenile Court of Clayton County -- Code Red for short -- started by Judge Teske in October of 2006.

While Clayton County has many youths, who are successful, morally upright, exceptional, respectful, responsible, courteous, conscientious, and outstanding citizens, unfortunately there are other youths, who are disrespectful, menacing, threatening, defiant, disobedient, aggressive, and members of gangs, with additional involvement in illegal activities.

Many of these dangerous juveniles, I believe, are coming from the City of Atlanta where officials are closing up their more than twenty housing projects with the most dangerous ones, such as Bankhead Courts, Thomasville Heights, Hollywood Courts, Bowen Homes, and Jonesboro North and South, scheduled for closure in 2008 and 2009.

Chief Turner's Community Policing Program has been a huge success, because it has increased the professional and personal interactions between the police officers assigned to the beats or zones, and the citizens and business owners of Clayton County, who live and do business in those beats or zones.

This has led to a greater trust, which has empowered citizens and business owners to report more criminal activities, and suspicious and unsavory actions of many juveniles and others.

Judge Teske's Code Red program has also been a huge success, as its main objective is to combat the rise in juvenile crimes and criminal activities, both minor and major, by holding the offending juvenile and his or her parents accountable for the juvenile's law-breaking conduct, and by providing alternatives to detention when necessary.

Lastly, I want to commend the fine citizens of Clayton County, who in a majority vote in the Non-Binding Democratic Party Question on the Democratic Ballot on July 15, voted to keep the structure and organization of the Clayton County Police Department as it already is, under the authority of the Clayton County Board Of Commissioners, and the superior and successful command and leadership of Chief Jeffrey E. Turner.