OSWEGO – The Oswego City Police Department has recently teamed-up with the Oswego County District Attorney’s Office to launch the Oswego County Handle with Care program.
The program aims to promote safe and supportive schools by helping children heal and cope from traumatic events while allowing them to thrive in their educational environments.
Under the Handle with Care program, when the police department responds to an incident in which a child is the victim of abuse or has experienced a traumatic event, officers send written notification to the District Attorney’s Office.
Without disclosing confidential information, the District Attorney’s Office alerts the school district and provides the child’s name, age and building assignment so that the school district may provide in-school support resources as needed.
The information sharing partnership is modeled after similar programs currently being used in other jurisdictions across the country.
Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow congratulated District Attorney Greg Oakes and Chief Tory DeCaire on implementing the school safety initiative.
Mayor Barlow said, “It is only through collaboration and cooperation that we will be successful in helping to provide much needed resources to our most valuable asset, our community’s children. I fully support their efforts and I look forward to the program’s growth.”
District Attorney Oakes thanked Mayor Barlow, Chief DeCaire and Oswego City School District Superintendent Dr. Dean Goewey for their partnership and their ongoing efforts to improve school safety.
Oakes added, “Through ongoing communication, we’re in a better position to help children who have been traumatized so that they can heal. We’re working together to improve and save lives by proactively addressing students’ mental health. In the long-run, that makes children healthier and our schools safer.”
According to Chief DeCaire, “Law enforcement, who many times are the first responders to traumatic events, are able to identify children who may have been victimized, witnessed to, or effected by these situations. We have routinely worked with the Oswego City School District on a case by case basis when these situations occur but by partnering in this formalized program, we are taking the next step in a coordinated effort to support and protect our community’s children. I appreciate District Attorney Oakes’ efforts in bringing this program to fruition in Oswego County.”
According to Dr. Goewey, “Many times, students become withdrawn and act out due to traumatic events outside of school. Students often do not have the adequate coping techniques to deal with these issues, resulting in negative or withdrawn behaviors that negatively impact their ability to learn. By receiving notifications through this program, we are better able to support students who may be dealing with a personal crisis.”
Oswego County Legislator Terry Wilbur, who chairs the county’s Community Safety Initiative, expressed strong support for the Handle with Care program.
“Over the past year, the county has worked to enhance school safety by bringing government agencies, community leaders and school districts together to develop prevention efforts and responsive measures,” he said. “Rather than waiting for tragedy to strike, we are working proactively to make our schools and public buildings safer. I believe the Handle with Care program has the potential to save lives.”