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by Liz Gelardi

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Police Department is trying to raise awareness for a program that takes a different approach to fighting crime. The East District Juvenile Initiative connects residents with social service agencies. The police department has partnered with more than 20 organizations.

IMPD Officer Sherron Franklin calls it a proactive approach.

“Let’s get some kind of help so maybe we can reduce crime, reduce the calls, the run loads,” Franklin said.

When an officer refers someone to one of these agencies, their name will go to the top of the list.

Police point to a successful partnership with the Hoosier Youth Leadership Academy. They believe it could help reduce crime with teens and young people.

“It’s been very rewarding. Not only are the officers referring young adults that qualify for our program, they’ve also taken on a mentorship aspect of the program where they’ve actually become mentors,” said Barry Stewart with the Hoosier Youth Leadership Academy.

Officers are also working with the legacy house to provide counseling for victims of violence.

The program is only available in the East District, but police officials tell Fox 59 it could eventually be expanded. For more information about the program, call IMPD at (317) 327-6229.