"Police officers play a crucial role in the juvenile justice system, one that extends beyond enforcing the law. The police officer on the beat has first-hand knowledge of the community and its youth--knowledge that can prove a valuable asset in efforts to prevent delinquency. Initiated in 1996, with funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Westminster, CA, police department's Strategic Home Intervention and Early Leadership Development (SHIELD) program takes advantage of contacts made by law enforcement officers to identify youth at risk of delinquency and refer them to appropriate community services. Not only are officers familiar with the youth in their communities, they are increasingly knowledgeable about risk and protective factors related to delinquency. This Bulletin describes how the SHIELD program mobilizes these assets to identify youth at risk of involvement in violent behavior, substance abuse, and gang activity and to address their needs through a multidisciplinary team approach involving representatives from the community, schools, and service agencies."
National Criminal Justice Reference Service: http://www.ncjrs.gov/