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AFJC Honors Graduates of Children’s Survivor’s Academy

By Kevin Rice

Police Chief John Welter offered hugs and congratulations at the Kids Creating Change graduation ceremony

After walking into the Anaheim Family Justice Center (AFJC) and witnessing the laughter and playfulness in of each child, one would never assume that just a short time ago, these children were being physically abused and witnessing violence in their homes.

The mood was joyous last Friday at the graduation ceremony for Kids Creating Change, AFJC Foundation’s Children’s Survivor’s Academy.

Much like its predecessor, the innovative Survivor’s Academy, an eight-week program for women that was founded in 2009, Kids Creating Change is a 20-hour program that provides children of violence the knowledge and skills to shatter the cycle of abuse.

Kids Creating Change covers: conflict resolution/playground bullying; anger management; communication skills; physical health; and, effective family communication (combined parents and children, with breakout sessions).

To accomplish effective learning, the children are grouped into classes of no more than 15 children per age group and provided age appropriate lessons and activities. Juan Gutierrez, 6, and Emily Flores, 7, said that they love to come to Kids Creating Change.

“We did fun things like drawings and Play-Doh,” said Flores.

Michelle Jaimes, 9, is all smiles after receiving her diploma

The graduation ceremony included a certificate presentation to the graduates, words of thanks from the Anaheim Police Department, including Anaheim Police Chief John Welter, a potluck and a special visit from a pair of singers from Anaheim High School.

The students sang “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz and “Firework” by Katy Perry to the tune of an acoustic guitar.

Welter took the stage once again and thanked the parents for allowing their children to participate in this program, but it was the parents that wanted to thank Welter and the many program leaders.

“Muchas gracias por su tiempo (thank you very much for your time),” said one grateful parent.

“Important work is done here; the kids are so sweet and they love to come,” said Susan Bruegman, retired kindergarten teacher and AFJC Foundation Board of Trustees and volunteer with and co-founder of the Kids Creating Change program, “but the real joy is seeing the parents’ faces as the program progresses.”

Anaheim PD Plays Key Role in First Countywide Curfew Sweep

Anaheim PD joined about two dozen law enforcement agencies Thursday night in the first ever Orange County curfew sweep aimed at cracking down on truancy and gang recruitment.LA Times photo

Organized by the Gang Reduction Intervention Partnership, the sweep began about 10 p.m. Thursday – with officers bringing violators to command posts in Anaheim, Aliso Viejo and Orange.

Anaheim investigator Ed Arevalo was featured in a wire service story that was picked up by a number of news agencies.

“It’s a little bit of scared straight, a little bit of tough love and then we give them the resources to follow up with social services,” Arevalo told a reporter.

To read the story, click here.

The Los Angeles Times followed Sgt. Mike Haggerty and Investigator Brian Browne. Its story can be found here.

Cops 4 Kids Big Fund-Raiser Friday Night

Want to support a program that helps put at-risk youth on a better path?

And was just featured on the Orange County Register’s Web site for being Anaheim Chamber of Commerce’s “Non-Profit” of the year.

Join us Friday night at Angel Stadium’s Diamond Club for the “Get in the Game” fundraiser that benefits Anaheim PD’s charity, Cops 4 Kids.

Cost is $40 per person, $75 per couple. RSVP to Gina at 714-493-4631.

To learn more about Cops 4 Kids – and to view an informative video – click here.

Cops 4 Kids Anaheim Chamber’s Non-Profit of the Year

Vodpod videos no longer available.

An Anaheim Police Department charity aimed at helping at-risk youth make better decisions was named the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce’s non-profit of the year, officials announced today.

Cops 4 Kids, a 12-year-old non-profit best known for its innovative Junior Cadet Program, has made a difference in the lives of thousands of children.

Jr. Cadet Program

Click on the photo to see an OC Register profile of the Jr. Cadet Program

“They do a lot for children in the area and are very deserving of the award,” said Melodie Farr, a chamber spokeswoman.

Police Chief John Welter said the department was honored to be recognized.

“The award validates the important difference our officers have made in the lives of so many children,” he said. “Community support plays a critical role in our success. I invite residents, business leaders and others to get involved.”

C4K is holding a fund-raiser Nov. 13. For details, click here. The chamber will honor Cops 4 Kids at a luncheon Dec. 10.

Below is some background on Cops 4 Kids.

Introduction

When Anaheim police officers hear crime rates have dropped nationwide, they take heart in knowing they are part of a grassroots effort that is making important contributions toward that worthy goal. A spin off of the Anaheim Police Activities League, the Cops 4 Kids program provides a safe haven to hundreds of youth and teaches them to shun the temptation of crime and instead be productive citizens.

“Every hour our kids spend at the C4K facility or in one of our community programs, is one less hour a drug dealer, child abuser, or other criminal has access to these precious children,” said Welter. “Law enforcement is focused on reducing local crime. C4K goes to the root-source of what makes our youth decide the type of citizen they will become as they grow up.”Cops 4 Kids

The impact of the effort is particularly apparent now. During recessionary times, crime rates historically spike. Crime prevention and community building programs such as C4K play a key role in maintaining Anaheim’s outstanding safety record.  “Especially for the younger kids, this is an opportunity for them to have their first interaction with the police department be a positive one,” said Cathy Dutton, president of C4K’s board of directors. “Then they won’t have a negative or fearful reaction when they encounter the police and know that they are there to help them and guide them throughout their lives.”

History

C4K began in 1995 when a few Anaheim police officers began teaching karate to neighborhood children. The need and benefit was immediately evident. The department formed the Anaheim Police Activities League. Over the years, APAL has mentored thousands of former bullies, truants and troubled teens. In the past three years alone, more than 2,500 children have been touched by the program, which was recently re-branded to better describe its expanded mission.

C4K’s Mission, Goals and Values

C4K’s mission is to use simple techniques like friendship, dancing, fishing and camping, music and trips to Big Bear Lake in developing responsible, respectful and disciplined character traits. For many participants, the excursions are an exciting first-time adventure. Another goal and value is creating lasting bonds between law enforcement and at-risk youth.

The program’s growth and leadership

When public funding for the DARE program disappeared, the department’s school resource officers acted immediately to replace it with a program that is arguably even more effective – the Junior Cadet program.  The first of its kind in California, the innovative program puts children through a military-like academy, teaching them citizenship and respect for authority and others. It has become a model copied by other police departments.  Another barometer of its success: About half the kids from the beginner cadet courses return for advanced classes. Several later become police explorers.

Maria Montesdeoca is an Anaheim parent who put her son through the program and saw an improvement in his attitude and his attention to things like homework. “He’s now more responsible,” she said. “After the program, he pays more attention to me. I really recommend other parents bring their kids. It’s really good.”Junior Cadets

The Anaheim Police Department has assigned two full-time staffers to C4K.  Dozens of officers volunteer as youth mentors. Thanks to help from a local charity, C4K recently moved into a new building near Lincoln Elementary School.

Innovation and success

In addition to the Jr. Cadet program, officers interact with the neighborhood kids in the C4K Community Services Vehicle. The yellow VW Bus has a 3,000-watt deejay booth complete with a full stage, LED lighting, wireless microphones, colorful tall logo flags and a big screen plasma TV. This mobile entertainment platform is popular with the kids, and helps spread positive messages.

Community partnerships

C4K’s Board of Directors consists of representatives from the Anaheim City School District, the Anaheim Union High School District, the Anaheim City Council, Disneyland, Clean City, and numerous local businesses. The YMCA and Boys and Girls Club and Downtown Youth Center are also partners.

Working together, the community partners have made a significant impact on overall crime prevention – and helped thousands of children become better citizens.

Police Add DUI Patrols Around Stadium During Playoffs

The Anaheim Police Department will be joined by other law enforcement agencies around Angel Stadium for today’s and Thursday’s playoff games in a crackdown against drunken driving.

“We remember Nick Adenhart, Courtney Stewart, Henry Peason, Jon Wilhite and the countless others who have been the victims of DUI drivers,” said Police Chief John Welter. “We will work hard to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

To read the press release, which includes important safety and traffic tips, click here.


Citizen’s Tip Led to Arrest of 7-Eleven Bandits

A citizen who recognized a security camera image broadcast on local television stations was credited for playing a key role in the arrests of three suspected convenience store robbers.CAMERA6

The robbers hit as many as 17 stores, including 7-Elevens in Anaheim, San Clemente, Lynwood and elsewhere.

The robbery spree is believed to have started June 20, and ended last week with the arrests.

Police chief John Welter said good police work, media attention and the citizen’s tip led to the arrests.

“This case is an outstanding illustration of how the public can help police solve crime,” he said.

Wearing dark hooded sweatshirts, the suspects were captured on surveillance video in an Anaheim store.

The police department shared the video with media, which led to the tip from a viewer.

Arrested were two 17-year-olds – one from Chula Vista, the other from Anaheim, and Raymond Moreno, 18, of Anaheim.

Read the entire press release here.