Norman Police Chief Leads Effort To Steer Kids Away From Crime
Norman - A local crime fighter is taking a national role to help steer kids down a positive path in life. Norman Police Chief Keith Humphrey was one of 30 people appointed to a new National Leadership Council for the non-profit Fight Crime: Invest in Kids.
The national Fight Crime: Invest in Kids organization has more than 5,000 members and has funded after school programs, early childhood development and more since its inception in 1996. Humphrey has spent three decades as a policeman, but instead of investigating crimes, he would rather prevent them.
The father of three says there is one glaring similarity with most of the criminals he has encountered. “An individual, especially a child, that has no positive role models, that feels as though nobody cares, they’re going to find something that’s going to make them feel comfortable. Unfortunately sometimes that’s criminal activity,” he says.
The chief has been a member of the Fight Crime initiative for years, but this year, when the federal government threatened to cut its funding, Humphrey stepped into a larger role, emphasizing to lawmakers the importance of the non-profit's services. He points out, “You see a lot of kids that, instead of going home to empty homes or TVs, they have a lot of programs that allow them to interact.”
As a result, instead of programs like Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting being cut, the Oklahoma State Department of Heath was able to expand its help to families through ParentPro. Family Support and Prevention Service director Annette Jacobi says, “We really want to offer the continuum of services and this particular federal grant allowed us to do that.”
Jacobi proudly adds, “If you’re a first time pregnant mom, we’ve got a program for you. If you’ve already had a child and you’ve got engrained parenting habits or you need extra support, we’ve got a program for you. If you’ve got multiple kids and perhaps a really chaotic household and you’d like to learn how to reduce your stress or get out of a violent relationship, we’ve got a program for you.”
Norman’s police officers work with kids through the Juvenile Intervention Program, the Police Athletic League and School Resource Officer program, which in its second year has already proven successful removing kids from unhealthy home environments. Humphrey says, “With the training that our officers have and recognizing individuals in crisis, we may have saved those children’s lives.”
In this new role on the National Leadership Council, the chief believes developing more healthy families will lead to less crime.
Jacobi adds, “Children that are bonded with their parents, that feel loved and nurtured, safe and secure, end up being capable, productive members of society.”
To find out more about the resources available near you, click here.
To learn about the Fight Crime: Invest in Kids organization, click here.