HENRICO COUNTY, Va. — Henrico County Police are implementing new guidelines that could lower the number of juveniles officers arrest.
The new policy, which took effect on July 1, could have a significant impact on how police handle disturbances in schools.
8News spoke with one mom whose 6th grader was arrested last year.
“My child being put in handcuffs, I can’t describe that. It still sits with me,” says Karen Gross.
Her daughter Kameron was just ten-years-old when she was arrested for disorderly conduct inside Tuckahoe Middle School.
Gross says her daughter was disrupting class and causing a scene in the hallway, but doesn’t think that warranted Kameron’s arrest.
“He put her in handcuffs for 15 minutes and escorted her in front of the whole school up to the office and left her in handcuffs until I was notified,” adds Gross
She believes school administrators pushed for the arrest but is happy to hear Henrico County Police have implemented new guidelines on how to handle situations like Kameron’s.
Gross says charges against her daughter were ultimately dropped.
Henrico Police Captain Linda Toney explains the concept, “This is an opportunity for us to look at each and every crime that’s committed and depending on what it is, we may offer service versus actually placing an arrest.”
Police will still document what happened, but discipline might be left to schools or even parents.
Some cases will be turned over to a juvenile intake officer to decide if the child or teen should be charged.
The idea is to continue to lower juvenile arrest rates.
This past school year, police arrested 317 students compared with 340 kids the year before.
It doesn’t mean police will turn a blind eye to kids who commit crimes, but minor incidents that don’t put anyone in danger will be approached on a case by case basis.