The Los Angeles County Sheriff‘s Department, Malibu/Lost Hills Station has developed a specialized unit to combat juvenile related issues in our policing area. This unit is called the “Juvenile Intervention Team” (also know as the “J-Team”). It currently consists of four investigators, one detective and one sergeant who are specifically assigned and trained to deal with juvenile related matters and concerns. They work out of the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station and are available as another resource of information or help. These deputies are frequently available on area school campuses and on routine patrol in the local cities.
The main goal of the Juvenile Intervention Unit is to improve the quality of life for the juveniles in the community. The J-Team program focuses on three major areas of impact with juveniles: 1) Schools - the unit seeks to achieve a long term goal of positive relationships, rapport and familiarity with schools and students; 2) Crisis Intervention - the unit attempts to identify the kids needing some type of assistance or diversion and aid in the resolution of those problems; 3) Community and Criminal issues - the unit is involved with juveniles in all aspects of the community as well as schools. A major component of the program is monitoring and preventing juvenile crime. By working with juveniles in the schools and community, the deputies accumulate a vast knowledge of many juveniles involved in criminal activity. The J-Team takes a proactive and preventive approach toward juvenile law enforcement issues. They track and document local gang members, as well as gang members from outside the patrol area.
There are three programs available through the J-Team:
Parental Resource program;
Student and Law Enforcement program; and
Sheriff’s Teen Traffic Offender Program.
The Parental Resource Program is designed for the parents of youth, whose contacts with law enforcement have not yet become serious, but who have been identified as “at risk.” The program occurs once a month, on a Saturday morning. Parents attend a casual four-hour meeting with deputies and discuss parents’ rights and responsibilities, youth issues such as gangs, drug and alcohol abuse, and narcotic issues. The juveniles meet separately with the deputies and are counseled and educated on the various concerns they are confronted with.
The Student and Law Enforcement program allows students to participate in a series of law enforcement role-playing scenarios, where they are given the opportunity to participate both as a “Suspect” and as a “Deputy Sheriff.”
The Sheriff’s Teen Traffic Offender Program was developed after numerous neighborhood complaints about teens that were terrorizing neighborhoods with their reckless driving. When we receive information about a reckless teen driver, we document the information and pass it onto a traffic deputy who will track down the teen driver and meet with the teen and the teen’s parents.