Hillsborough's Juvenile Arrest Avoidance Program seeks to keep kids out of trouble

10/18/11 Atecia Robinson
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Youth who get in trouble with the law are less likely to gain meaningful employment and complete their education. A Hillsborough County program seeks to help young people avoid an arrest record.

The Juvenile Arrest Avoidance Program is made up of Representatives from law enforcement, and the justice system. Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner said the program will help youth avoid an arrest record.

The meeting was held at the University Area Community Center on north 22nd street in Tampa, an area where some juveniles would benefit from this type of program. Tampa Police Corporal Kert Rojka said there was a trend in the type of offenses he saw in the area.

Corporal Rojka said there have been some myths associated with the program since it’s inception in June.

Rojka also said the consequences for a juvenile shouldn’t differ depending on where the offense was committed.

Willis Bowick is founder of the Tampa Bay Black Chamber of Commerce. He said he hopes the program would help keep young African-Americans out of trouble.

During the question and answer portion of the meeting, St. Petersburg resident Tim McMurry asked how the Juvenile Arrest Avoidance Program set itself apart from the Nuisance Abatement Program and the Civil Citation Program set up by the sheriff’s office. Commissioner Beckner responded.

The remaining informational meetings are scheduled for:

• Tuesday, Oct. 18, Leto High School, 4409 West Sligh Ave. in Tampa

• Tuesday, Oct. 25, Hillsborough County School District Instructional Services Center, 2920 N 40th St. in Tampa

• Tuesday, Nov. 1, Lennard High School, 2342 Shell Point Rd East in Ruskin

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