WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita Police Department (WPD) has launched a new program called Strategic Engagement to Reduce Violence (SERV). The goal is to reduce violent crime victimization among Wichita youth and young adults.

“The bottom line is that we are not doing enough as a community to keep kids out of trouble, give them the resources they need to be successful,” WPD Chief Gordon Ramsay said.

WPD joined forces with the U.S. Department of Justice and looked at different models used by police departments around the country. They ultimately are taking the model “focus deterrence” used by Boston police in the 1990s.

“Really, it’s an effort to pull people that are prone to violence, people that are going to be shot or shoot someone and intervene and get them resources and help they need to get out of that lifestyle,” Ramsay said.

Wichita Police say SERVE is a community policing initiative that seeks to reduce gun violence and violent crimes in Wichita.

According to WPD, officers will be reaching out to community members under the age of 20 who are prone to violence. The participants will be provided with services like anger management classes, substance abuse programs, employment and educational opportunities to gear them into the right director.

“We know that you are at risk of becoming a victim of a violent crime or a potential shooter and we’re basically unified in calling you to stop the violence,” WPD Captain Jason Stephens said.

Pastor Odell Harris says the program provides guidance and leadership that people didn’t have before.

“I feel as if this program is not only needed but is absolutely necessary for life,” Harris said. “It’s time for not only to change what we are doing but change what we are teaching in our communities.”

The strategy involves six phases:

  • Phase 1: High-Risk Individual Selection
  • Phase 2: Notification
  • Phase 3: Call-in Session
  • Phase 4: Enforcement/Service Delivery
  • Phase 5: Follow-up communication; and
  • Phase 6: Assessment.

For more information about the program and how it works, click here.