Bringing the Pieces Together to Build a Safer More Sustainable Community
Search Our SiteGoals
The San Juan Safe Communities Initiative, Inc. has been working for over three years developing strategies to address the problems of substance abuse and criminal activity in San Juan County. Methamphetamine use, and the crime related to it, was the problem that brought us together. Since our inception, we have had numerous community meetings, held two summits, and formed a 501(c)3 (a non-profit corporation). We established four neighborhood steering committees (Prevention Committee, Intervention Committee, Suppression Committee, and Sustainability Committee) to identify strategies to reduce substance abuse and criminal activity in San Juan County. Our committees have established specific objectives and are developing strategies to achieve those objectives.
They are as follows:
– Establish a Unified Investigative Unit
Background: Many criminals in the county commit crimes in Farmington, Shiprock, Bloomfield, and Aztec, as well as unincorporated areas of the county. Investigators from their respective agencies often investigate overlapping criminal activity. This results in duplication of effort and inefficiencies. By creating a Unified Investigative Unit, representatives from local, state, and federal law enforcement would work out of the same building and would cooperate with their investigations. Creating a facility where investigators could work side-by-side and share information would greatly enhance our law enforcement capabilities. SJSCI supports this effort.
– Street Crimes/Dealer Suppression Initiative
Background: The Law Enforcement Task Force recognizes that more needs to be done to address street level crime related to illegal drug use. The Region II Narcotics Task Force is responsible for Drug Interdiction efforts in San Juan County. However, their focus is on infiltration of criminal organizations inside and outside of San Juan County. Their goal is to arrest higher-level dealers and disrupt trafficking of illegal drugs. As a result, Region II lacks the resources to significantly impact street crime.
The Law Enforcement Task Force is currently exploring strategies to utilize existing resources and the public’s assistance in identifying and responding to suspected drug dealers.
– Establish Community Centers
Background: In San Juan County, there are limited opportunities for families to spend time together outside the home in activities that are free and safe, promote quality time for children and adults, and create opportunities for learning together. Community centers with effective programming provide opportunities to strengthen families on a daily basis. The Prevention Task Force has established a goal of creating community centers throughout the county. Our goal is to build on existing programs and resources and work to expand those programs where there is interest in doing so. Faith-based organizations, schools, chapter houses and other existing facilities are all resources we will work with to achieve our goal of a community center in every community.
– Establish a School-based Prevention Program
Background: The Prevention Committee would like to create a prevention program for all schools in San Juan County that is integrated with the regular curriculum. Teachers are asked to do so much already, that to add another program does not make sense. However, if we can assist teachers in discovering and utilizing the “language of prevention” with their students, they can have an impact on the beliefs and values of their students. Our goal is to teach the language of prevention to teachers so they can identify ways in which they can incorporate it into what they already do. The underlying goal of the curriculum is to help every child understand that he or she has value. The language of prevention teaches children that they have value and they have a future.
– Provide Consolidated Prevention Programs Information
Background: There are numerous prevention programs available throughout the county. Our goal is to document all of the existing programs that are currently available and make that information available to any individual or organization that could benefit from them. Our goal is NOT to tell school districts or teachers which prevention programs to use. We want to make the information available to all so they can make informed decisions regarding effective prevention programming.
– Create a Comprehensive Prevention Marketing Campaign
Background: While the majority of children and young adults make the right decisions regarding substance abuse, many do not. We want to provide positive messages encouraging positive behavior and belief. We want young people to understand they have value. Substance abuse robs individuals of their values, and the value they bring to others. We are currently developing a marketing campaign that will promote positive beliefs and behaviors. The campaign will include television, radio, billboards, and posters in schools.
– Establish a Seamless Continuum-of-Care
Background: Navigating through our public services sector can be a confusing experience for anyone, not just addicts. We would like to establish a comprehensive continuum of care that provides not only addicts and their families information regarding the process or recovery, but also provides comprehensive information to the service providers. For example, people addicted to drugs or alcohol hit “the system” in many ways. Some are arrested; some seek emergency services at the hospital; some are identified within the school system; and others are referred by local agencies. We would like to make all service providers aware of the system of recovery and their role in that system. If we assume that there is “no wrong door” to get into treatment, we can ensure all individuals seeking recovery go through a standard assessment, are referred to appropriate agencies, and assisted in every possible circumstance toward self-sufficiency.
– Provide Information Dissemination
Background: There are numerous resources in San Juan County available to people suffering from addiction. We have resident in-patient treatment, intensive out patient (IOP), and Outpatient Treatment available in San Juan County. Part of the problem is a lack of comprehensive information on what is available. One goal of the initiative is to consolidate all of the information into one location so that anyone seeking help will understand not only what services are available, but also what he or she can do to access those services. One primary tool we will use to accomplish this, is the development of a comprehensive web site. Anyone in the community will be able not only to access the website, but will be able to add information to it. It will be a community resource that is not only accessed by the community, but managed by it.
– Establish Transitional Housing
Background: Many addicts leave treatment without a safe, supportive environment in which to pursue sobriety. Many are forced to move back into the environments that led to addiction. A meth addict is especially susceptible to relapse when living in an environment of continuing meth consumption. The Intervention Task Force is actively working to identify models and funding that would serve this gap in our current continuum of care.
– Create Opportunities for Reintegration
Background: Our goal in working with addicted individuals is recovery and resiliency. This will require helping them to reestablish their lives as contributing members of society. This may include job training, life skills training, and case management to assist in the process.
– Incorporate Gang Intervention System Objectives into Prevention, Intervention, & Law Enforcement
Background: As the Suppression Committee identified their goals, many of the goals were overlapped with other task forces. The Gang Intervention System will integrate with Intervention, Prevention, and Suppression Committees. The Gang Intervention System Members will join the other committees to ensure that solutions specific to address gang activity are included in the goals of the other committees.
– Offer Parenting Programming
Background: Many parents don’t recognize that their children are involved in gang activity. Some families are multigenerational gang members. Others lack the skills necessary to develop within their children the confidence and values necessary to resist gang recruiters. Confident, well-adjusted children do not join gangs. Confidence and self-esteem are developed naturally through effective parenting. Parenting classes are offered in San Juan County. We hope to identify effective strategies to offer the training to those who need it the most. Effective parenting is one of the best prevention strategies we can implement to reduce substance abuse and criminal activity.
– Create Mentoring Opportunities
Background: Some young people lack positive role models in their lives. Those who are leading a good example often don’t come into contact with the young people that they could positively influence. We hope to identify positive role models within the community then utilize those individuals to serve as mentors for younger children. We have many great kids out there who would love to serve.
– Encourage Neighborhood Revitalization and Community Centers
Background: In San Juan County, there are limited opportunities for families to spend time together outside the home in activities that are free and safe, promote quality time for children and adults, and create opportunities for learning together. This is especially important in neighborhoods with higher levels of gang activity. Community centers with effective programming provide opportunities to strengthen families on a daily basis. The Prevention Task Force has established a goal of creating community centers throughout the county. Our goal is to build on existing programs and resources and work to expand those programs where there is interest in doing so. Faith-based organizations, schools, chapter houses and other existing facilities are all resources we will work with to achieve our goal of a community center in every community.
San Juan Safe Communities Initiative
Background: Many organizations are working on the problems of substance abuse and criminal activity. We have brought together many of the key players in the community to begin a dialog which we hope will provide a unified strategy to deal with the problem in a sensible, effective way. We have established relationships between many groups that continue their work together.
Background: We are coordinating with Monarch Marketing to establish a comprehensive marketing campaign that will inform the public and influence their beliefs and actions in a positive way. We will be running television, radio, and newspaper advertising. We will also purchase billboard advertising, as well as placing posters in schools with an anti-drug message. All messages will be branded with the Safe Communities Initiative logo, and will direct the viewers to our web site. The overall goal of our marketing effort is to provide information to the public designed to reduce substance abuse and criminal activity in San Juan County. Those messages include:
– Web Site
Background: Although there are numerous resources available in San Juan County, the information regarding those resources is scattered and can be confusing. We are developing a comprehensive website that will gather community information in one place. This information will be of the community, by the community, for the community. It will eventually be a single-stop location for information. This information will include a comprehensive resource directory, information regarding addiction and treatment, a community events calendar, prevention resources for teachers and parents, and updates regarding the activities of the Initiative, as well as opportunities to get involved.
The San Juan Safe Communities Initiative, Inc. is attempting to do something few communities in this nation have been able to accomplish. Our goal is to draw upon our most valuable resource, our people, in order to achieve our shared goals. We believe that a comprehensive community-wide approach to solving our comprehensive community-wide problems is the only way we be able to sustain lasting change. By bringing together committed, dedicated citizens and providing a voice for every segment of the population, maintaining our focus of collaboration and cooperation, and promoting our strategic vision for San Juan County, we will achieve a safe community.