Since this is an issue *VERY CLOSE TO MY HEART* I feel the need to keep posting these articles when they come up in the News.
Something needs to be done…
Amherst youth home gets more troubling
Gateway-Longview is on track to generate 368 police calls this year, or an average of one per day.
“It is unprecedented for one location in town to generate this amount of activity and consume the commensurate amount of resources,” Amherst police Capt. David R. Hoy said Monday.
And it’s not just the number of calls.
Hoy also cited the increased seriousness of the incidents, creating more of a threat for residents, staff members, responding officers and the community.
In the last several days, Hoy added, Amherst police have fielded nine calls from Gateway-Longview, including an assault when an agitated resident punched a staff member in the head, kicked out a door, broke a window and fled.
“When I came on [the force] years ago, the kids got a thrill pulling the fire alarm and seeing the fire trucks respond,” said Amherst Detective Sgt. Michael N. Torrillo, who has worked with juveniles for years. “Now it’s escalated to assaultive behavior and kids acting out against the counselors and the people there.”
I haven’t been working there since early 2004 and it was getting bad, I can’t even imagine.
Police also feel frustrated with the whole juvenile-justice system. Many youths in residential treatment facilities and group homes are referred there from Family Court after being deemed to be either persons in need of supervision or juvenile delinquents.
When those youths younger than 16 commit misdemeanor-level crimes in the treatment facilities, they get referred again to Family Court. “Then they send them back to the home,” Torrillo said. “It’s a revolving door.”
SOMETHING has to be done…