Created to develop and maintain effective programs for the citizens of Alachua County, the Youth and Community Resource Unit‘s (YCRU’s) focus is developing trust in the neighborhoods through education, outreach, and innovative programs that serve our citizens on multiple levels. This grass roots community policing approach allows for greater non-confrontational contacts between our deputies and citizens.

The unit includes a sergeant who also serves as a Racial and Ethnic Disparity coordinator, youth intervention specialists, the Teen Court Program, and a civilian community liaison, all aimed at outreach and positive interaction with community youth. Our programs include Deputy/Youth Dialogue, Books and Burgers Literacy Initiative, Operation C.O.N.E., Doughnuts with a Deputy, and several other community-based events throughout the year.

These programs provide an opportunity for citizens of all ages to develop a personal relationship with law enforcement and take ownership in their community.

All Youth and Community Resource Unit programs are supported by community partnerships with local businesses and citizens.

Deputy/Youth Dialogues offer Alachua County kids an opportunity each month to spend an evening with ASO deputies, having an open and honest conversation about law enforcement. As an added bonus, the children get the opportunity to educate deputies on how to better communicate with them on the street and earn community service hours towards graduation. These programs are held at the county-served high schools, and for any community group that wants to join the discussion.

Operation Community Outreach Neighborhood Engagement – Families enjoy a cool treat while playing various games with deputies. We are able to serve multiple communities during each deployment with our Ice Cream Truck.

Operation Community Outreach Neighborhood Engagement – Families enjoy a cool treat while playing various games with deputies. We are able to serve multiple communities during each deployment with our Ice Cream Truck.

The Books and Burgers Literacy Initiative was launched by ASO in late 2015 and designed to promote reading and community fellowship with our deputies. The kids and community members enjoy a hamburger dinner, play various sports, and most importantly, get to read with a deputy of their choice. At the end of the event, the kids get to take a few books home to keep and share with their families. These events are held monthly around the county and are made possible by community and business partnerships and book donations.

Doughnuts with a Deputy is designed to create instant positive interactions between deputies and our children. On select mornings, deputies will show up to random Alachua County bus stops to get kids excited for the upcoming school day, play sports, and of course . . . share our Krispy Kreme doughnuts!

Racial and Ethnic Disparity/Disproportionate Minority Contacts Initiative (RED/DMC)

The mission of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office RED/DMC Initiative is to ensure that all children are treated in a fair and equitable manner. Current statistics show a mathematical overrepresentation of African-American children in the juvenile justice system. They are also receiving longer sentences, longer detainment periods, and more frequent probation checks and ensuing violations. In addition, African-American children are physically arrested or charged rather than diverted more than any other race or ethnic group. Implementation of RED-DMC practices across the country are reducing not only disparate treatment for African-American youth, but generating positive alternatives for all of our children as well.

The Sheriff’s Office is taking a proactive stance encouraging school based discipline and alternatives to arrest based on a Restorative Justice Model. This model holds children accountable for their actions, makes victims whole again and, most importantly, teaches children valuable life lessons. Under this model, children are not put in the criminal justice system for adolescent behavior, with physical arrests made largely for violent crimes or weapons-related offenses.