The juvenile investigation division was an idea former Sheriff Randal Edwards and former District Judge Gary Miller. In their daily work, the Sheriff and Judge saw a contributing factor to kids getting in trouble was missing school.
Sheriff Edwards and Judge Miller created the Juvenile Investigations Division in 2011. The unit began with six full-time deputies spread across all of the Canadian County Schools. The unit's mission was to get absent kids back in school. Deputies worked with the schools in Canadian County to identify kids who were absent without good cause. When children were absent, Deputies immediately went to the child's home to learn why. Deputies discovered various reasons for the absences but the free time contributed to kids getting in trouble.
The juvenile investigators took prompt action including in some cases transporting the juveniles to school to attend their classes. It also resulted in criminal charges submitted to the District Attorney's office alleging the parents failed to have their kids in school, which is against the law. Subsequent prosecutions of the parents and intervention nearly eliminated all school truancy in our county schools.
The success of the program was amazing. Prior to the program's inception, the various schools in Canadian County historically had many kids who dropped out of school every year. As a result of the collaboration with the Sheriff's Office, school officials, the District Attorney's Office and the judicial branch, all of the schools in Canadian County reported no or nearly no dropouts. While an admiral goal of no dropouts, the actual results were spectacular and a testament to the success of the program.
The investigative Deputies work as hard today as when the programs was started ensuring Canadian County kids are in school. We believe keeping kids in school will make a big difference in the lives of so many kids and in our communities as far fewer kids are in trouble than ever before.
The program has had other benefits. The juvenile investigators weren't intended to be traditional school resource officers. However, in schools without resource officers, our deputies bring an additional law enforcement presence to the schools daily. Our Deputies are cognizant of safety concerns in our communities and bring additional security to our school kids and facility.