The Haverford Township Police Department Community Policing Unit and the Juvenile Investigator were responsible for the majority of the education and investigation of juvenile matters. The unit is under the Detective Division Commander Lt Kelly. The Unit is staffed by Detective David Vernacchio. Detective Dennis Donnelly oversees and assists with Juvenile Investigations as a secondary assignment.
The community policing mission is to provide information to the public so it can be informed of current crime trends and have a basic understanding of how to reduce their risk of victimization. Officer Flynn is a Certified Crime Prevention Specialist and is tasked with instructing citizens of the township, adults and school aged children, in methods and strategies to reduce victimization. Crime prevention officers work closely with the residential, commercial and industrial communities to develop strategies that promote proactive community problem solving and crime prevention.
The foundation of a successful community policing strategy is the close, interactive relationship between officers and community members working toward the goal of reducing crime and its effects. Efforts focus on the underlying causes of crime by assessing the characteristics of problems in specific neighborhoods and the application of appropriate, mutually supported problem-solving remedies in a partnership role.
Crime prevention officers work closely with all community groups such as Local Civic Associations, Optimist Clubs, Rotary Club, Church groups, Boys and Girl Scout troops and neighborhood organizations with Community based safety presentations and programs. Additionally the unit is responsible for presenting a wide range of safety and education programs to students in the Haverford Township School District and Parochial Schools.
A Youth Aid Panel was formed in Haverford Township in 1997 in conjunction with the Police Department, Haverford District Court, The Delaware County District Attorney's Office and Delaware County Juvenile Court. The target population is juvenile offenders charged with first-time minor offenses. Violations involving illegal drugs are ineligible. The Youth Aid Panel empowers the community to participate in problem solving in their neighborhood. The Youth Aid Panel consist of volunteer community members who are screened by the local police department. The panel members are trained by the staff of the Community Dispute Settlement Program and the Juvenile Court. Panel members are volunteers and are chosen for their interest in youth, their non-political aspirations, and their variety in age, occupation, race, and sex. A panel will usually meet once a month but may choose to meet more often depending on caseload.
Panel members receive training in:
Police officers, elected officials, and their immediate families are ineligible to become panelists and are welcome to volunteer to help the panel in other ways.
The panel is not a court of law and does not determine guilt or innocence. Juvenile offenders must admit their involvement in the offense.
The youth and their parent(s)/guardians(s) then must agree to accept the Y.A.P. as an alternative to resolving problems. At any time during the Y.A.P. process the youth or his/her parent(s) may end the process and choose to go to the District Justice or Juvenile Court instead.