Idaho law enforcement officer
on The Woodbury Report Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Lon Woodbury, host of The Woodbury Report radio show on K4HD.com, spoke to Idaho police officer, Jermaine Galloway on the show's theme of Cops, Kids and Community. "Every cop wants to put more work into something they have a passion for, "said Officer Jermaine, describing the focus of his community-building work, "mine is education. I got interested when as a new officer, I would see stuff on the street…see trends with kids and drugs and alcohol and would ask why. ' What do these mean to kids?' And I had a lot of 'why questions' and noticed more people were asking questions too. So 'I am that bridge for them.'"
Lon Woodbury is an Independent Educational Consultant who has worked with families and struggling teens since 1984. He is the founder of Struggling Teens, Inc., the publisher of Woodbury Reports, and an author on a wide number of books about parenting at risk-teens.
About Jermaine Galloway
Officer Jermaine Galloway has been an Idaho law enforcement officer since 1997 and has more than 11 years experience in underage drinking, drug and alcohol enforcement. He has worked several different assignments, including: crime scene investigation (CSI), DUI task force, officer mentoring, and as a field training officer. He received his BA from the University of San Francisco and is currently an adjunct instructor at NNU (Northwest Nazarene University). In 2009, he received the National Law Enforcement Partner of the year award from (OJJDP) Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Then, in the next year, he received the National Mickey Sadaoff Underage Drinking Award from the director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
How Cops, Kids and Community Can Work Together
The guest started the interview by pointing out that drug abuse among young people posed a new, different, and difficult problem. "Drug potency is different from when we were young and experimenting with marijuana," he said, "The potency is more than anything we have ever seen before and kid's nowadays are mixing drugs with other drugs or mixing drugs with alcohol--all potentially life threatening." However, he was also quick to point out the dangers of painting the problem with a broad brushstroke: "I also want to add that there are lots of kids that are staying substance free and are doing excellent work."
Officer Jermaine shared with Lon the advice he offered to parents who approached him for help. "I try to tell parents that there are different levels of drug and alcohol usage from addicts to experimentation and kids are still kids. They are learning and growing and many kids are doing exceptional. I encourage parents to be active in listening to their kids, be involved in their lives and be aware when their 'baseline' on their child changes…something that feels out of character or notice a major shift in their moods, actions or demeanor."
He strongly encouraged parents to practice the art of listening and discernment before leaping to conclusions about the reasons for their child's unusual behavior. "There is always a reason for it [the behavior] so try to figure out why, ask questions but don't lead the talk, let them do the talking. It could be nothing more than stress, or a break up in a relationship or working hard to raise their grades. There are so many different things as a teen that could be going on. Stay active in their lives."
In his presentations to parents, he will often use theatrical props that suggest a teenager's bedroom. It will be equipped with bedroom furnishings-- a bed, dresser, night stand, and a clothes closet. It will also have clothes thrown on the floor and pop culture posters. He will then educate parents on the meaning of symbols on clothes, inform them about the type of music that encourages drug use, and reveal some common locations for hiding a drug stash.
Toward the close of the interview, Officer Jermaine talked about what parents can do to protect their kids, and recommended that they join and support community programs designed to raise awareness about negative social trends among youth. "Find out what's trending in your local community, the more education that parents can get, the better."
Officer Jermaine strongly believes that cops, kids and community should work together to create a better society "Through more education, the community is safer," he said, "Your local law enforcement agencies want to be on the 'front' end- to prevent crimes, build a proactive relationship with them. Get your youth involved and let them lead…encourage and empower them. If there are no programs in your area, get your schools, officers, businesses, health and welfare involved." He also emphasized how parents had to shake off a sense of apathy and learned helplessness. "You can make a difference- by doing something. There are groups out there willing to help you get started in your own communities. The bottom line is about raising healthy kids and healthy children to grow into healthy adults."