General Order 44.1
JUVENILE OPERATIONS

Last Revised: 6/15/08

SUBJECT: JUVENILE OPERATIONS

This order consists of the following numbered sections:

44.1.1    Philosophy of juvenile operations

44.1.2    Juvenile operations function

44.1.3    Juvenile policy development

44.1.4    Types of juvenile contacts

44.1.5    Juvenile custody procedures

44.1.6    Interviews with juveniles

44.1.7    School Resource Officer program

44.1.8    Records

44.1.1 Philosophy of juvenile operations

The Department recognizes that the prevention of criminal behavior is best method for achieving long-term safety in the community. To that end, the Department is committed to the development, implementation, and perpetuation of programs designed to prevent and control juvenile delinquency and to the protection of children from abuse, neglect, exploitation and other behavior that victimizes them.

The Department supports innovative approaches to preventing juvenile delinquency and community-oriented approaches to intervention in juvenile misbehavior. The Department works actively with courts, schools and local youth and family-serving agencies to improve the juvenile justice system. At the same time, the Department recognizes that personal accountability for behavior is one of the cornerstones of our society, and it accepts its role as a key agency in the community for ensuring social accountability and responsibility.

As a general rule, Department members are expected to attempt to use every contact with young people as an opportunity to teach, guide and learn, and to use discretion in selecting appropriate responses to juvenile misbehavior. Additionally, Department members are expected to recognize the value of positive adult modeling in the development of children and to accept responsibility for serving as positive role models in the community.

44.1.2 Juvenile operations function

I.    The Field Operations Division is responsible for coordination of the Department’s juvenile operations function.

II.    All members of the Department are responsible for supporting and participating in the juvenile operations function.

44.1.3 Juvenile policy development

The Department encourages input from the community and other elements of the juvenile justice system in the development of policies and procedures that are consistent with community values and Department philosophy.

44.1.4 Types of juvenile contacts

Department employees may contact juveniles in a number of different circumstances, including the following:

I.    Informally or in a non-enforcement setting;

II.    As a witness to a crime or incident;

III.    As a victim of crime or abuse;

IV.    As a dependent of the juvenile court or the State;

V.    As a “status” offender (i.e., runaway, truant, curfew violator);

VI.    As a suspect in an offense;

VII.    As an offender.

44.1.5 Juvenile custody procedures

I.    A juvenile may be taken into custody for the reasons described in RCW 13.40.040 (criminal violations), or 13.32A.050 (status offenses) or 28A.225.060 (truancy). Special processes apply to missing and runaway children. [see General Order 41.4]

II.    In taking juveniles into custody, officers consider the circumstances surrounding the custody and use the most reasonable alternative - consistent with preserving public safety, order and individual liberty - to affect that custody. Particular sensitivity is applied in protective custody situations, where every effort is made to minimize negative psychological impact on the child.

III.    Processes relating to juveniles taken into custody for criminal offenses

A.    Officers need to be mindful that juveniles, especially those under 16 years of age, naturally test limits and challenge authority. That, coupled with lack of life experience, makes juveniles prone to poor decision-making and susceptible to peer pressure. Juveniles who engage in misbehavior may be surprisingly vulnerable, and officers should be sensitive to recognizing when a juvenile may need help in understanding his/her contact with the justice system and/or the consequences for criminal acts. Parents are an important part of the process involving their children and every effort should be made to help them remain engaged in the lives of their children.

B.    In keeping with Department philosophy [see 44.1.1], officers may utilize the following release alternatives for juveniles who are taken into custody for criminal offenses:

1.    Field release with no formal action. A juvenile taken into custody may be released either from the field or from another location with no further action. This alternative may include counseling the juvenile, issuing a verbal warning, completion of a field interview report, making a referral to a community agency and/or leaving corrective action to parents.

2.    Release pending court action. A juvenile taken into custody may be released pending court action. This option is the preferred option for minor offenses where prosecution is desired by a complainant or where appropriate accountability for behavior cannot be assured without court action. This alternative may include a recommendation to the prosecutor for diversion.

3.    Release to detention. A juvenile taken into custody may be released to the Thurston County Juvenile Detention Center when there is probable cause to believe that one of the following criteria is present:

a.    The juvenile will likely fail to appear for further proceedings; or

b.    Detention is necessary to protect the juvenile from himself/herself; or

c.    The juvenile is a threat to community safety; or

d.    If released, the juvenile will intimidate witnesses or otherwise interfere with the administration of justice; or

e.    The juvenile has committed a crime while another case is pending; or

f.    The juvenile is a fugitive from justice; has had his/her parole suspended or modified; or is a material witness; and

g.    The juvenile meets the detention criteria currently in force at the Thurston County Juvenile Detention Center.

E.    In every instance where a juvenile is taken into custody for a criminal violation - regardless of the method of release from custody - the officer taking the juvenile into custody notifies the juvenile’s parent or legal guardian of the date, time, location and circumstances of the custody. Such notification is timely in relation to the contact, and may be made in person or by telephone.

F.    When a juvenile is taken into custody for a criminal violation and where additional court action will be requested, the officer taking custody of the juvenile releases the juvenile, without unnecessary delay, in one of the following ways:

1.    Directly to the custody of a parent, legal guardian or designee of the parent or legal guardian;

2.    Directly to the field, with permission of a parent or legal guardian;

3.    Directly to the custody of the Thurston County Juvenile Detention Center.

Necessary delay, in this context, may include the time necessary for local booking (i.e., fingerprinting and photography), interview/interrogation and/or emergency medical treatment.

V.    Processes relating to juveniles taken into custody for status offenses other than truancy. [RCW 13.32A.060] [see also General Order 41.4]

A.    When a juvenile is taken into custody for a status offense other than truancy, the officer taking custody, in a timely manner, informs the child of the reason why he/she has been taken into custody.

B.    In accordance with State and Federal law and regulations, juveniles taken into custody solely for a status offense are not held in any locked area, with the single exception of the rear of a patrol vehicle during transport.

C.    In keeping with Department philosophy [see 44.1.1], officers may utilize the following release alternatives for juveniles who are taken into custody for the reasons described in RCW 13.32A.050:

1.    Release to parent/guardian or designee. A juvenile taken into custody for one of the described status offenses may be released from the police facility or from another location where the juvenile is being held in custody directly to his/her parent/guardian, or, at the parent’s/guardian’s direction, to an extended family member or a responsible adult designated by the parent/guardian. If practical, the juvenile may also be taken to his/her place of residence or to a parent’s/guardian’s place of work to be released to a parent/guardian, or to the home of the extended family member or responsible adult designated by the parent guardian and released to that person; or

2.    Release to a designated crisis residential center (CRC), the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) or a licensed youth shelter. A juvenile taken into custody for one of the described status offenses may be released to a CRC, to DSHS or to a licensed youth shelter, if such placement is requested by the parent/guardian, or if one of the following circumstances is present:

a.    The child expresses fear or distress at the prospect of being returned home, and the officer taking custody believes that the child may be experiencing some form of abuse or neglect at home; or

b.    If it is impractical to transport the juvenile to his/her home, to a parent’s/guardian’s place of work or to another location designated by the parent/guardian (i.e., if the juvenile’s home, the parent’s/guardian’s place of work or the other designated location is outside the Olympia city limits, or if other public safety demands make such transportation impractical); or

c.    If there is no parent/guardian available to accept custody of the juvenile.

3.    Alternate placements. If a CRC is full or is unavailable, a juvenile taken into custody for one of the described status offenses may be released to DSHS for out-of-home placement.

D.    When a juvenile is released to a parent/guardian, an extended family member, another responsible adult or a licensed youth shelter, the officer releasing the juvenile informs the person receiving custody of the reason for taking the child into custody and informs all parties (parent/guardian, child and the person receiving custody, if not a licensed youth shelter) of the nature and location of appropriate services available in the community.

E.    When a juvenile is taken into custody for a status offense described in RCW 13.32A.050 and is released to a CRC, the officer taking custody, within twenty-four (24) hours of releasing the juvenile to the CRC, provides the CRC with a written report of the reason for taking the juvenile into custody.

F.    If an officer taking custody of a juvenile for one of the described status offenses has reasonable cause to believe that the child is absent from home because he/she is abused or neglected, that officer immediately reports the basis for reasonable cause to DSHS and takes necessary action to protect the child.

G.    In all cases, when a juvenile is taken into custody for one of the described status offenses, the period of police custody is only as long as necessary to affect an appropriate release, as described in this Section.

VI.    Processes relating to juveniles taken into custody for truancy [RCW 28A.225.060]

A.    When a juvenile is taken into custody for truancy, the officer taking custody, in a timely manner, informs the child of the reason why he/she has been taken into custody.

B.    Officers may utilize the following release alternatives for juveniles who are taken into custody for truancy:

1.    Release to a parent or guardian. A juvenile taken into custody for truancy may be released from the police facility or from another location where the juvenile is being held in custody directly to his/her parent/guardian.

2.    Release to school. A juvenile taken into custody for truancy may be delivered to the school in which he/she is enrolled and released to an official of that school.

3.    Release to a program designated by the school district. A juvenile taken into custody for truancy may be delivered to a program designated by the school district and released to an official of that program.

4.    Release to a school official. A juvenile taken into custody for truancy may be released from the police facility or from another location where the juvenile is being held in custody directly to an official of the private school or school district in which he/she is either enrolled or is subject to enrollment.

VII.    Processes relating to juveniles taken into protective custody [RCW 26.44.050]

A.    When a juvenile is taken into protective custody for circumstances described in RCW 26.44.050, the officer taking custody notifies the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) to facilitate emergency placement and initiate juvenile court dependency proceedings. Juveniles taken into protective custody may be released only to an official of DSHS or to an official of a shelter care facility designated by DSHS.

B.    All cases of child abuse and neglect are referred to the Detective Bureau for follow-up investigation.

VIII.    In-custody juveniles are not permitted in the City Jail, except as may be necessary for booking (fingerprinting and/or photographing) or blood alcohol testing. When a juvenile is taken into the City Jail for processing or testing, the time spent in the Jail is strictly limited to that time necessary to complete the processing/testing, and, at all times while in the Jail facility, the juvenile is protected from both visual and verbal contact with adult prisoners. [RCW 13.04.116]

44.1.6 Interviews with juveniles

I.    When interviewing a juvenile who is suspected of committing a criminal offense, employees pay particular attention to assuring that the juvenile is fully apprised of his/her rights.

II.    Juvenile interview procedures

A.    When interviewing a juvenile who is suspected of involvement in a criminal act, the time and location selected for the interview should reflect consideration of the following:

1.    The safety of persons and/or property;

2.    The safety of the juvenile being interviewed;

3.    Appropriate involvement of the juvenile’s parent/guardian;

4.    Availability of a setting that assures appropriate privacy and minimal disruption of other business being conducted at the location.

B.    Officers may question juveniles who are in custody only after formally advising the juvenile of his/her constitutional rights, other applicable juvenile warnings, and receiving a waiver of those rights from the juvenile about to be questioned.

C.    When and if a juvenile asks to consult his or her parents either before or during questioning, the interview should be terminated until such consultation has occurred.

D.    If parents are present at the time of arrest or prior to the beginning of the interview process, they should be allowed to consult with their child, except in cases where the parents are also suspects in the same incident or are witnesses to the incident.

E.    If parents arrive after the interview has begun and request contact with the juvenile, it should be granted at the next logical break in the interview process, except in cases where the parents are also suspects in the same incident or are witness to the incident.

F.    If the juvenile expresses fear or distress about contact with his/her parents and requests that the contact not occur, the juveniles wishes should be taken into account. The officer should attempt to determine of the fear or distress is valid and make a determination if notification should be made to Child Protective Services.

G.    Juveniles should be given regular breaks (at least every two hours) from the interview process.

H.    Interviews include providing the juvenile (and his/her parent/guardian, if present) with information about Department’s procedures in dealing with juvenile offenders and about the processes that he/she should expect to encounter in the justice system.

I.    Whenever possible, interviews with a juvenile who is a victim or witness are conducted at a location convenient to the juvenile and his/her parent/guardian and are scheduled with the juvenile’s parent/guardian.

44.1.7 School Resource Officer program

I.    The philosophy underlying the School Resource Officer (SRO) program centers on three basic concepts:

A.    Youth (and their families and schools) have specialized public safety needs that are best provided by officers who have equally specialized training and a mandated assignment to meet those needs.

B.    The police have a legitimate role in educating young people about responsible citizenship.

C.    Strong, positive relationships with police officers help young people recognize and accept their role in community safety.

II.    The goals of the SRO program are as follows:

A.    To provide specialized law enforcement services for youth, families and schools;

B.    To work with youth, parents and schools to prevent youth crime;

C.    To assist schools and parents in educating and preparing young people for responsible participation in the community;

D.    To serve as models of responsible citizenship for young people.

III.    SROs are assigned to the Field Operations Division and are responsible for coordinating the juvenile operations of the Department, which may include, but not be limited to, the following tasks:

A.    Instruct in the elementary school drug abuse prevention curriculum;

B.    Investigate child abuse, runaway and missing child cases, as assigned [see General Order 41.4];

C.    Assist in intervention with “audience children” (i.e., children who are exposed to domestic violence between their parents);

D.    Serve as the first responder to police calls for service from assigned school campuses;

E.    Investigate and prepare reports regarding incidents that occur on assigned campuses or incidents involving youth (as victims or suspects) who are students on assigned school campuses;

F.    Counsel with students and/or parents, and provide referrals to appropriate community services, as needed;

G.    Serve as “guest speaker” in middle/high school classes, including the curriculum-based prevention/intervention programs, on topics related to citizenship and legal issues;

H.    Conduct parent information meetings (on youth issues such as gangs, substance abuse, runaway/youth-at-risk behavior and youth violence);

I.    Attend activities (sports, drama, music, after-school programs, etc.) and interact with students informally both during school hours and at activities;

J.    Serve as liaison between the Department and assigned schools, parents and community family-serving agencies;

K.    Provide in-service training for assigned school staffs regarding such subjects as: child abuse, substance abuse, gangs, juvenile justice system and safe schools planning;

L.    Assist with conflict management teams (peer assistance), as needed.

44.1.8 Records

The Department complies will all Federal and State laws regarding juvenile records collection, dissemination, retention and destruction. [see 82.1]