Today, Mayor Frank G. Jackson announced the appointment of Duane Deskins as the first Chief of Prevention, Intervention and Opportunity for Youth & Young Adults for the City of Cleveland.
“Crime is not a cause, it is a symptom,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “This is no panacea. We need a broad effort to deal with the cause that involves education, jobs, and access to wealth.”
The initiative announced today is one more tool in our effort to combat crime, in particular, violent crime that results in death. This will be accomplished through prevention, intervention, opportunity and enforcement. This citywide initiative will be supported by several departments and with external partners.
The Department of Health will have two (2) newly created positions that will focus only on Youth Violence as a health epidemic. The Community Relations Board will have a total of five (5) newly created positions: three (3) outreach workers and two (2) crime analysts as well as resources that totals a budget increase of $1,000,000. The Division of Recreation will have increased youth programming and employment opportunities. The Department of Public Safety, Division of Police will have 65 additional officers and deployment strategies based on crime analysis.
“Now is the time to put our resources and our effort where our talk as been,” said Mayor Jackson. “We can’t claim to want a different reality for our kids and the communities they live in without becoming more intentional about solutions. As a result of this work we will see increased partnerships, develop leaders, and connect young people to the prosperity our city continues to develop.”
Mayor Jackson then introduced Deputy Chief of Police, Wayne Drummond, who advised that effective January 1, 2017, the Violent Crime Response Initiative will begin operating out of the Bureau of Special Investigations as the Neighborhood Impact Community Engagement Squad (N.I.C.E.). The initiative will operate under the direction of a command level officer within the Division of Police. As the initiative develops, N.I.C.E. will operate as a stand-alone unit within the Division of Police. Once fully formed, the unit will be comprised of sixty officers.
The mission of N.I.C.E. is to proactively target violent crime areas identified through the Crime Analysis Unit, by the community, and District Commanders. Members shall constitutionally and professionally police the identified areas by means of uniformed and plain clothes operations. Officers will engage and work collaboratively within the community by utilizing the Problem Oriented Policing model. N.I.C.E. will concentrate on crimes of violence including homicides and gun violence, apprehending violent offenders and community engagement.
The initiative will increase capacity and be supported by the Division’s law enforcement partners including the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Cleveland Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office. The initiative will also be supported by the City of Cleveland’s Community Relations Board and Partnership for a Safer Cleveland.
Mayor Jackson announced, “I am creating a cabinet level position of Chief of Prevention, Intervention and Opportunity for Youth and Young Adults and Duane Deskins will lead and coordinate this effort.”
Duane Deskins, a federal prosecutor for more than 30 years, joined the Prosecutor’s Office in December 2013 as Chief Prosecutor in the Juvenile Division and Director of Crime Prevention. During his tenure at Justice Department, Deskins worked as an Assistant United States Attorney in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and his native Cleveland. Duane helped shape and implement the department’s Project Safe Neighborhood and Project Sentry (PSN) strategy to reduce violent crime using data-driven initiatives and broad-based community collaborations.
Since taking charge of the Juvenile Justice Division, Duane has led a proactive effort to crack down on youth gang violence within the Detention Center and in neighborhoods throughout Cuyahoga County.
He has worked with police chiefs and community groups alike to deter juvenile crime and present at-risk youngsters with more positive options. He has also forged closer ties between prosecutors at Juvenile Court and those who work downtown at the Justice Center.
Deskins grew up in the Glenville and Shaker Square neighborhoods in Cleveland and graduated from St. Ignatius High School. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from Boston College. He currently serves as the First Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor.