State grant aims at cutting crime in targeted areas of Cleveland

State grant aims at cutting crime in targeted areas of Cleveland

November 30th, 2011 by Randall Higgins in News

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - A state grant helped rescue a child from molestation, police say.

Dozens of agencies are taking part in the Tennessee Targeted Community Crime Reduction Grant programs. The $800,000 grant, in its second year, targets what police call Sectors One and Two, the south and east areas of Cleveland.

One part of the program to reduce crime rates and recidivism in the area is an elementary school class called Resisting Aggression Defensively.

"Fortunately, we have been told, one kid has already been saved from sustained abuse," Cleveland Police Department Officer Brian Stovall said at a Tuesday meeting of partnering agencies working with the grant.

"The child went to one of his teachers, I believe, and said he had been taught that no one had the right to hurt him," Stovall said.

Law enforcement, the city and county school systems, city government and nonprofit agencies such as the Boys and Girls Club and the Bradley Initiative for Church and Community are working to bring down the crime rate in Sectors One and Two using funds from the grant. Two police officers are funded through the grant to serve the targeted community.

City Manager Janice Casteel said that "one by one, we can make a difference."

Officials at partnering agencies, not all of which receive grant money, say there are more success stories to be told.

"This is the emergency room for children and families," Terry Gallaher, director of Bradley County's Juvenile Justice Program, said before the meeting.

While most juvenile justice systems treat children on probation the same way adults on probation are watched, the system in Bradley has been applauded by the state for doing things differently.

"We try to figure out why the kid burglarized the house," Gallaher said.