Local students try out new crime prevention program

Becky Campbell • Aug 21, 2013 at 10:54 AM

Students at one local high school are learning the benefits of positive actions through a new curriculum, and school leaders hope it will improve the overall atmosphere in classrooms and hallways.

The curriculum, named Positive Action, is part of the Johnson City Police Department’s new crime prevention program — Targeted Community Crime Reduction Program — funded through a federal government grant.

Much like Weed and Seed — a program used by the police department several years ago to weed out crime and promote positive things in an area once dubbed Central City — TCCRP focuses on four components.

First is pre-enforcement, second is enforcement, third is neighborhood revitalization and fourth is offender intervention.

The pre-enforcement portion of the TCCRP grant focuses on crime prevention programs for teens, businesses and neighborhoods. Becky Hass, TCCRP director, said there is a partnership with Johnson City Schools to integrate the Positive Action curriculum into the educational setting at the Henry Johnson Alternative Center.

“It teaches them there is a positive way to doing everything,” Haas said. The school will host a kickoff Thursday for students at the center and their parents.

“We want the family involved. Our hope is to make the family aware of it and hopefully they’ll be supportive,” she said.

Kim Kirk, assistant principal at the Alternative Center, said she’s looking for the program to bring a change in the overall environment at the school.

“I’ve made the AC a little more punitive this year. This allows us to give something back to the students,” she said.

Students earn tokens when they complete one of many positive actions established by the curriculum. Positive actions include completing homework, getting to class on time or having a good attitude, said curriculum administrator Sheri Cooper.

“We help them retrain their mind to be positive (and) change their behavior,” she said.

According to Haas, Positive Action is just one small part of the pre-enforcement aspect of the TCCRP. It also includes a mentoring program between police officers and kids involved in activities in the Carver and Dunbar communities as well as business watches in the downtown area and neighborhood watches in the Mountain Home and downtown area.

Because the TCCRP is designed to target a specific area, Johnson City police chose Mountain Home and the downtown area as the focus. The planning phase ended earlier this year and programs and improvements are now being implemented.

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