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Detroit police chief plans 'boot camp' for troubled kids

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio
Detroit Police Chief James Craig

Detroit’s new police chief wants to launch a boot camp-style program for middle-school kids in troubled neighborhoods.

Police Chief James Craig says he’s run a program like this in other cities with success. The idea is to get to kids early enough before they get pulled into gangs or crime.

“Typical military style boot camp, but while we’re boot-camping the kids we had social service workers in dealing with the parents,” Craig said.

The 10-week program will mentor young people, and get parents or guardians the support services they need to make the kids’ lives better. Rather than call it a boot camp, the chief says it will be called CITI Camp – for Children In Trauma Intervention.

“We named it Citi Camp because we thought ‘boot’ was a little too harsh,” said Craig. “I know. Harsh. It’s okay if you have shootings in the neighborhood and the kids are exposed to that.”

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.