WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The WPD has always looked for ways to help steer the city's youth away from a life of crime, one such effort was the Focus Deterrence Initiative.
WPD Spokesperson Linda Rawley was an outreach coordinator for the initiative until she changed jobs within the department in 2012. The outreach position has not been replaced since that move.
Rawley said the program targeted young members of the community that were at-risk or heading down the wrong path.
"We pinpoint some individuals we believe that are contributing to the violence. We also look at those individuals who we believe if we don't address them soon, could possibly become problems," Rawley said.
The spokesperson said that the effort was designed to give troubled youths a final warning before charges were pressed.
"We try to bring their family members in and address them as well. We're talking to your sons. We're talking to your daughters. We're giving them a warning," Rawley explained.
Rawley said that sometimes the warnings worked and sometimes they didn't.
One suspect that didn't heed the Warning was validated gang member William Point. Police suspected Point of drug trafficking and arrested him in 2012. Point was given a second chance. He was arrested earlier this month on attempted murder charges. Upon arrest, his previous drug charges were subsequently added to his record.
Rawley said the department also looks to other organizations for help in keeping city youths on the right track. One of those programs is the LITE Manhood Program within the LINC organization. The program builds off of positives instead of putting influence on negatives.
"If they're not in school we help them get back in school. If they finish school, we help them fill out their FAFSA so they can go to college. If they want to go to the military, we'll talk to some recruiters," explained Roger Hubbard, director of LITE Manhood Program. "We do whatever is necessary to help move them forward."
Maleick Mckoy is one Wilmington man who has been involved in the program.
"We don't come from middle class families," said Mckoy. "We come from the bottom."
Mckoy said the program has helped him grow and develop.
"We see what we want, but have no idea how to get to it so they kind of teach us, give us work ethic, get the job schedules," Mckoy explained.
Rawley said the department is currently seeking a grant that would allow for the department to add an outreach position similar to the one she once held.
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