Somerset and New Richmond Police departments apply for justice grantThe Somerset and New Richmond police departments have joined forces and applied for a grant aimed at helping troubled youth in the area.
By: Gretta Stark, New Richmond News
The Somerset and New Richmond police departments have joined forces and applied for a grant aimed at helping troubled youth in the area.
“The bottom line of the (proposed) program is to help juveniles be more accountable for their actions,” said Somerset Police Chief Doug Briggs.
He said the program will eliminate the need for the village to pay someone to supervise troubled youth.
“If we do get the funding for it, the Youth Services Bureau will provide a worker to work with any kids to make sure they get the fines paid the way they’re supposed to and also to monitor the community service they may have to do as part of their punishment,” Briggs said.
Briggs said the Youth Services Bureau is a non-profit organization that would administer the program.
He said there are a lot of programs that law enforcement agencies and municipal courts can’t run because of limited staff and resources. Pairing with a non-profit is a win-win.
“There will be no costs to the municipal governments,” he said. “They (the Youth Services Bureau) do all the staffing for the program and they will see to any matching dollars that have to be made to the grant. So, essentially they’ll put the program together.”
If the department’s joint concept is accepted, they’ll have to submit a full application by the end of June. Briggs said it could take up to two months before the Governor’s Commission on Juvenile Justice makes a final decision about whether the project fits their requirements for funding.
Briggs said if the project is approved it will be the second grant the department has received through the Office of Justice Assistance. In 2009 the department received a three-year grant totaling $150,000 to put drug and alcohol counselors in St. Croix County school districts that didn’t have a lot of drug and alcohol counseling available.
He said the first grant was a huge success.
“That grant has run out, but three of the schools — New Richmond, Somerset and St. Croix Central — picked up the funding for the positions, so they’ll continue to have a drug and alcohol counselor for the students,” he explained.
Briggs said he’s optimistic that the recent grant submission will be approved.
His optimism stems from the fact that the alcohol and drug counselor grant was so successful.
“There were nine other grants that were awarded at the same time ours was. At the end of the three years, ours was the only grant that was able to sustain itself,” Briggs said. “I think the state knows from our history that if we put a grant together, we put enough thought and planning into it so that once the money runs out from the grant we still have a really good chance of the program sustaining itself.”