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Truant sweep first in ongoing anti-gang effort

OCEANSIDE — Truant youngsters were subjects Dec. 18 of the first of two years worth of upcoming police sweeps. The Oceanside Police Department detained 28 juveniles during the truancy sweep as part of a grant-funded gang intervention program.
In April 2009, the Police Department received a $400,000 grant from the governor’s Office of Emergency Services aimed at reducing youth involvement in gangs. As part of the grant, truancy, curfew and probation sweeps will be conducted during a two-year period. In conjunction with these activities, the Police Department will partner with the Oceanside Unified School District, The Oceanside Community Safety Partnership and North County Lifeline to work with at-risk youths and their families under a targeted outreach component of the grant.
The Dec. 18 truancy sweep was conducted between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. With 10 police officers participating in the sweep, 28 juveniles were detained and 17 were transported to their schools and issued citations for truancy. Two juveniles were cited for truancy and released to family members at the police station because they attend San Diego schools. The remaining juveniles were found not to be truant based upon enrollment in various alternative education programs.
Truancy has been clearly identified as one of the early warning signs that youth are potentially headed for delinquent activities, social isolation or educational failure. In addition to the truancy sweeps, the project also provides funding for officers to contact high-risk truants and their families in their homes to educate the families on school attendance laws and identify issues that contribute to poor attendance.