The need for training on juvenile justice issues is great at a time when funding for training is declining in many areas, says a Juvenile Justice Training Needs Assessment Survey of 404 law enforcement agencies from the International Association of Chiefs of Police and reported by Youth Today. About one-third of the surveyed departments said they do not have an assigned staff in charge of juvenile operations, while 25 percent have a centralized juvenile unit.
Twenty-two percent of agencies have at least one officer assigned to youth services, and 16 percent have multiple officers assigned to youth issues, but these officers do not make up a centralized unit. Agencies identified eight issues concerning juvenile crime to be most pressing: substance abuse, physical, sexual and emotional abuse, juvenile repeat offenders, bullying and cyberbullying, gangs, internet crimes involving youth, runaways, and school safety. The IACP runs a Juvenile Justice Law Enforcement Training and Technical Assistance Project, which trains law enforcement officials and juvenile justice professionals in dealing with youth issues.