ROBERTSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Robertson County Sheriff’s Office is working to address juvenile crime with a new initiative. The sheriff’s office said this was about reducing juvenile offenses and making schools safer by getting more resources to children in Robertson County.
“I think the biggest thing to look for is how many kids you’ve been able to help and keep them from going down the wrong path. You can never really quantify that,” the sheriff said. “We’re really dedicated at the sheriff’s office and within Robertson County at investing in kids now to prevent future crimes,” said Sheriff Michael Van Dyke.
That’s why they created the new Juvenile Service Division, which includes the current School Resource Officer division and a Juvenile Outreach Division.
Sheriff Van Dyke said a juvenile task force will also work with stakeholders that provide juvenile services to identify current issues, problem-solve, and share resources to address the needs of local kids.
“Abused, neglected children are twice as likely to be involved in crime in the future,” the sheriff explained. “We provide tons of training for our school resource officers. A lot of them are trained on crime prevention techniques, they’re trained to look for security issues, safety concerns, and then communicate that with their community.”
The most recent report from the TBI showed overall offenses in schools increased from 2017 to 2019.
Keep in mind these numbers don’t include colleges and universities. Simple Assault was the most frequently reported crime. Crimes Against Persons in schools increased by almost 12 percent.
Sheriff Van Dyke said they’re not seeing a spike in juvenile crime in Robertson County but they’re working to prevent one in the first place.
“An officer rides through a neighborhood, how many crimes did he prevent by being there? No one can ever tell him how many crimes he’s prevented. But we know if we work hard and we invest in our kids, we can help some of them not go down the wrong path and have a more successful future.”