Cities offer variety of community programs

Here is a closer look at some "community policing" programs in Gwinnett

Police officers in schools

Lawrenceville, Norcross and Suwanee both participate in the ADVANCE program (Avoiding Drugs, Violence and Negative Choices Early), an eight-week course that reaches every fifth-grade class in Gwinnett County.

"I go into the classroom two or three days a week," said Cpl. Mary Haney of the Norcross Police Department. "We let them know, when they go to middle school, what to look for and how to respond to temptation and how to handle it."

ADVANCE began in 1997 through cooperation between the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department and the Gwinnett County Public School System when they re-wrote the DARE program, which only reached 26 of Gwinnett's 49 elementary schools.

Lilburn police officers serve as school resource officers who work closely with students and parents in private and public schools in Lilburn.

Duluth police officers mentor middle and high school students in the OUR CREATION program.

Through the COPS program (Caring Officers Providing Support), certain Suwanee elementary students are assigned their own police officer for one semester. The officer serves as mentor to the student.

In the community

Each Suwanee neighborhood is assigned its own officer as a liaison to the police department. The PACT (Police And Citizens Together) program is designed to complement neighborhood watches by dealing with issues like speeding and crime prevention. Each community holds three meetings per year with the officer.

TRIAD is a national program sponsored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriff's Association and the American Association of Retired Persons to support crime prevention initiatives for senior citizens. Suwanee police work with both Triad and SALT.

Lawrenceville, Snellville and Suwanee youths ages 14 to 21 (depending on the city) can investigate a career in law enforcement and help their communities at the same time through the EXPLORERS program. EXPLORERS practice traffic stops, building searches, occasionally ride along with police officers, and guide traffic and parking at city events.

Citizen police academy

Norcross police initiated Gwinnett County's first citizen police academy in 1995, according to Chief Richard Miller. Snellville and Suwanee followed a few years later. For seven weeks, citizens attend one class per week that familiarizes them with the police department's daily activities. Citizens receive limited police training and occasionally ride along with an officer.

Driver education programs

Duluth's Operation Drive Smart is a four-phased education program aimed at reducing teenage car fatalities. A sister program, Operation Ride Smart, teaches bicycle riders effective safety techniques.

Georgia Teens Ride With PRIDE (Parents Reducing Incidents of Driver Error) is a program, offered in cooperation with the University of Georgia's Traffic Injury Prevention Institute, designed to reduce crashes, injuries, and deaths of teenage drivers. The two-hour course is for Suwanee teenagers and their parents.