CCSD police to conduct after school home visits with students’ families

CCSD's Prevention Before Apprehension program involves home visits by police. The passage of the program has drawn mixed reviews.
Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 8:04 PM PDT
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Update (March 21): Lieutenant Bryan Zink, Public Information Officer with the Clark County School District Police Department, clarified Tuesday that the Prevention Before Apprehension program was originally approved for a grant in 2019, and is specifically intended to prevent youth gang involvement or gang violence. The program features home visits to at-risk youth by outreach teams of officers and social workers.

According to Zink, roughly 250 students have historically been referred to this program. Of those, 150 visits were either attempted or made, specifically targeting “gang behavior.”

He said these were a combo of home visits and phone calls. No arrests or citations made.

He added that of the 150 visits, only 5% of the parents were not interested in talking, whereas the vast majority were interested.

He said 30% of the conversations took place in the residence, and the rest took place outside on a porch, driveway, or the like.

Zink said he doesn’t believe the latest program expansion is going to focus on anything other than what the spirit of the grant originally was, which is gang involvement. Reason being, he said groups already exist within the district for threat assessment, which already provide mental health services for juveniles led by school-based social workers.

Original story: LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Mitigating school violence: it’s the goal of a local police agency who is behind a newly-expanded home visit outreach program called “Prevention Before Apprehension.”

The program expansion was proposed by the Chief of Clark County School District Police Department Henry Blackeye. In a 4-3 vote, CCSD trustees approved a $405,672.50 grant application for federal dollars Thursday, March 10 for the police department to partner with social workers and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officers to form outreach teams and proactively conduct home visits with families of at-risk students.

The Southern Nevada community has shown mixed reactions about the program. Families are asking for clarity as details were limited during last week’s school board meeting.

Lieutenant Bryan Zink, Public Information Officer with CCSDPD, said the program is pre-existing, but Thursday’s grant approval allows it to extend and expand.

“This makes it a lot easier for our officers to go out into the field and make these contacts,” Zink said.

According to Lt. Zink, the department’s practice of family visits and service referrals has existed since 2019, but in a very limited capacities.

“Usually at school, because there were no funds to fund afterhours operations,” Zink said.

The visits will extend until September of 2026 and will allow officers to visit homes after school hours.

Zink said families are selected for home visits in a variety of ways.

“One, they can come in and ask for help,” Zink said. “Two, they can be referred to us via the Dean’s office, the assistant principals office. I think they call the deans -- now they’re called ‘student success coordinators.’ But also the school counselors, the school social workers can either notice something about the kid, or have a conversation with the kid that kind of leads them to believe that the child may be involved in gang activity in some manner, and then they refer them on to us.”

“Prevention Before Apprehension” is intended to squash school violence and manage the school-to-prison pipeline.

“We’re here to help, we’re here to see what needs you have, how we can help you, how we can best serve you,” said Sergeant S. Ufford, PhD, a CCSDPD officer.

As part of the visits, two officers (which might include a LVMPD officer) and a social worker will arrive as a team in unmarked cars and plain clothing.

“These officers are trained to go to the house, learn how to build a repour with the family, and then talk to the family about the activities their child is doing in school,” Zink said. “Everyone knows that early intervention is key.”

Zink said they use the opportunity to educate parents about signs of gang recruitment and gang membership.

Not everyone appreciates this idea of home visits. Families said they believe “Prevention Before Apprehension” violates the fourth amendment of the U. S. Constitution: the right of the people to be secure in their houses against unreasonable searches and seizures.

“Home visits not only puts students rights under the fourth amendment under a dangerous attack, but put minority students at risk of oppression,” said one person who publicly testified against the funding during last week’s board meeting.

“Funding should not be used on CCSD Police, but rather, on mental health professionals,” another person said.

“All that is gonna be able to do is just continue to be intentional and strategic, oppressing black and brown youth,” another testified.

The criticism with the program is that it unfairly targets minorities. Lt. Zink said they are not there to enforce laws rather, he said they aim to connect families with services like the Harbor or other resources.

“We’re there for intervention, not for detention,” Zink said. “That’s why we knock on the door and if a parent opens the door and says, ‘No, I’m not interested. Go away,’ We’re gonna go away.”

Zink said the visits are not considered no-knock warrants.

“This is completely a consensual thing, where if they want advice in their home, if they want to just remain on the patio, or if they want to talk to us in the driveway, or if they say, ‘Hey, we don’t have time. I’m sorry,’” Ufford said.

Zink said it is in the department’s best interest to honor that, so that they do not lose the grant.

“The opportunity that it allows us, to provide a service to the community...far outweighs the revenue that would be brought in from somebody speeding or playing their music too loud,” Zink said.

Zero citations and zero arrests have been made from the home visits so far, according to Zink.

When we asked Zink whether the officers will have their weapons on them during home visits, he replied that they will, but only for self-defense reasons.

Zink is working to provide FOX5 with an answer on whether families are notified ahead of time that an outreach team may be stopping by.