Cops & Scholars

In the summer of 2015, 10 people were murdered and 28 were wounded in the City of WPB.

Two years later most cases remain open, though the police know the gang members involved, their hands are tied due too lack of cooperation and eyewitnesses coming forward. I want to tell you about one particular officer named Sgt. William Nealy.

Sgt. William Nealy, who has won multiple awards and recognition for his work with kids definitely thinks “outside the box” when it concerns juvenile’s. If you take the time to speak to this officer his passion and devotion to the problem facing young men and woman come through loud and clear.
Sgt. Nealy has over a decade working with Juveniles and patrols many of the most dangerous sections of the city mainly the Tamarind Avenue corridor, where the shootings mentioned above happened.

Every person Nealy stops and asked what can be done to stop the violence, they all say the same things: jobs, activities for the kids and, above all else opportunity. Some of the men say their past criminal histories keep them from employment. They say kids have nothing to do when they’re out of school. Here is how the city has responded.

“Mayor’s Village Initiative/Workforce Development Program.”
The goal of this program is to connect residents to employment, to assist them in overcoming any barriers to obtaining employment and to provide educational/vocational training.

Career Source Palm Beach County assist the youth and young adults meet the education and career goals through various programs. The year-round work readiness program helps eligible youth ages 16 – 24 who are not working and attending school to:
Develop leadership and work maturity skills
Explore career pathways
Receive money management training
Engage in mock interviews and resume building
Earn over $900 during a five-week program

Activities for the kids:
Youth Empowerment Center’s (YEC) are located at Gaines Park and the Pleasant City.
YEC’s incorporate enriching team-specific program from kids 12 to 19 years old. These facilities feature a multipurpose building for programs and activities, audio/video and recording labs, computer labs, playground area, gymnasium and outdoor basketball courts and other outdoor sports amenities.

Police Athletic League (PAL) is a juvenile crime prevention program that relies heavily upon academics and recreational activities to create and maintain the bond between police officers and kids on the street.

Gang Resistant Education and Training (GREAT)
The Great Program is intended as an immunization against delinquency, youth violence, and gang membership. The educational training is geared for children fifth grade and above.

Urban Youth Empowerment Program aims to help young adults who have been involved in the adult criminal justice system, juvenile justice system and are high school drop-outs reached their educational and career goals.

Past criminal histories that keep them from employment also have a couple of programs.
Juvenile Arrest and Monitoring. (JAM)
The purpose of JAM is to establish to alleviate criminal activities committed by juveniles under supervision of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. Juveniles on JAM are closely monitored by West Palm Beach Police Department officers.

Neighborhood Accountability Board
This program is geared for youth between 12 – 18 years of age who have committed a first time misdemeanor offense. NAB is based on the principles of Restorative Justice. The participants are referred by Law Enforcement or the State Attorney’s Office.
Upon completion of the program the pending charges will not be documented on court records.

Reduction Intervention Prevention (RIP)
this program is geared toward first-time felony offenders between the ages of 13 to 24 years of age. The goal is to provide them with the necessary resources and mentoring in hopes that they will become productive members of the community.

Sgt. Nealy is a firm believer cops should step out of their cruisers and talk to the youth in the area creating trust between the two.
In August Sgt. Nealy and officers will be presenting “Operation Youth Violence – R.I.P. (Reduction, Intervention, Prevention)” at the 2017 International Gang Conference in Chicago.
When you have a program that works, other cities want to know about it, and I am thrilled that West Palm Beach can assist Chicago.

I know we can’t save all these kids, because some of them don’t want to be saved, but if we all go out and take one boy or girl by the hand, take the time to talk to them and lead then in another direction we can change a life. Sounds good,but few will do it for many reasons.
Willing to try are Sgt. Nealy and the officers committed to an added program called:

“Cops &Scholars”
This program is aimed at encouraging the inner City’s youth to focus on high academic standards. The youth who show academic improvement over a period of time will be rewarded with a sit down meal at local restaurants paired with offices, in uniform. Their goal is to encourage the youth of West Palm Beach to strive for higher academics.
This program I can help with by sending a check to help cover the cost of the meal. If you can join me please send your check and in the memo section add  “Cops & Scholars” and our contribution will be designated for that program.

West Palm Beach Police Foundation
P.O. Box 851
West Palm Beach, FL 33402

Contributions can also be made at the web address below.