FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
David Valentin, Chief of School Police, 714-558-5829
Angela Burrell, APR, 714-558-5555
SAUSD Implements GRIP Program to Keep Kids in School and Out of Gangs
Forms Partnership with Multiple Law Enforcement Agencies
SANTA ANA, CA — October 26, 2011 – The Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) School Police Department has entered into a Gang Prevention and Intervention Partnership (GRIP) with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA), Orange County Probation Department, and Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) aimed at keeping youths in school and out of gangs. The official Santa Ana launch of the program will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 27, 2011, at Century High School, located at 1401 S. Grand Ave.
Through the GRIP initiative, partners will identify at-risk youth in Santa Ana and work to increase their school attendance and discourage participation in gang activity. Santa Ana GRIP partners will collaborate to host informational parent, student, and faculty meetings, conduct curfew sweeps in high-volume gang activity areas, and perform truancy sweeps at the homes of students with excessive absences.
“The educational component and outreach is really the critical part of this program,” explains David Valentin, Santa Ana School Police Chief. “Through a multi-disciplinary effort of not only my department, but working with the school district’s Pupil Support Services Division, school principals, administrators and teachers at our campuses, we will educate students and parents to inform them about the dangers and consequences of gang membership. At the same time, we will encourage students to focus on their educational goals. We are excited to be implementing this comprehensive anti-gang collaborative in our Santa Ana community,” Valentin said.
GRIP incentives such as tickets to professional sporting events will be offered to students who improve their attendance and grades and complete the school year with no gang activity or affiliation.
“In order to keep our children out of gangs, we need to equip them with the tools to get an education, pick the right friends, and have the confidence to make healthy lifestyle choices. I’m proud to welcome Santa Ana to our GRIP partnership so that we can work together to help kids and families develop these tools,” said Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “I am also proud of the District Attorney staff who are volunteering their free time with GRIP II to invest in our communities by providing resources to teachers, options to parents, and guidance to at-risk youth.”
SAUSD is one of several agencies that belong to the Santa Ana GRIP program including the OCDA, SAPD, Probation, and community partners from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County, Community Service Programs and Saddleback Church. Countywide, GRIP is composed of eight law enforcement partners including the Buena Park Police Department, Garden Grove Police Department, OCDA, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Orange Police Department, Probation, SAPD, and SAUSDPD, and is active in the Cities of Buena Park, Garden Grove, Mission Viejo, Orange, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Stanton, and unincorporated North Orange County.
In September 2011, the educational component of the program – GRIP II – was implemented in 18 schools in the Cities of Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Garden Grove, La Habra, Laguna Hills, Orange, Placentia, San Juan Capistrano, Tustin and Santa Ana. This component includes OCDA staff members volunteering their time to conduct school faculty presentations on how to mentor at-risk students. Through an on-campus parent-greeter program, volunteers also train parents on how to keep neighborhoods safe and gang-free through neighborhood watch, and how to deter gang members from contacting at-risk students. The OCDA volunteers, along with police and probation officers, also give student presentations to at-risk youth regarding negative consequences of joining gangs and the positive effects of staying in school.
SAUSD Public Information Office
1601 E. Chestnut Ave. | Santa Ana, California | 92701
Phone 714.558.5555 | Fax 714.558.5812
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