E.P.P. 7 Juvenile Enforcement Considerations

I.             Juvenile Considerations:


It is the policy of the Longwood Police Department to deal strictly, but fairly, with juveniles involved in criminal situations and to divert them, when possible, from the criminal justice system.  The Police Department cooperates fully with the Department of Juvenile Justice, community social service agencies, the State Attorney’s Office, and the Circuit Court in the handling of juveniles in compliance with state statutes.


It is furthermore the policy of the Police Department to use the least coercive and most reasonable alternatives when dealing with juveniles, exercising good judgment consistent with the preservation of public safety, order, and individual liberty.  This chapter addresses policies and procedures that are to be followed when an officer has taken or is considering taking a juvenile into custody.


II.            Diversion Option (Alternatives to Arrest):


A.            Officers are encouraged to consider alternatives to arrest when, in the officer’s opinion, resources other than the criminal justice system would be more effective in handling a juvenile.  If an arrest is made, diversion alternatives would be considered.


B.            Alternatives to physical arrest are generally available only when a juvenile has committed offenses such as traffic violations or committed a non-violent misdemeanor offense and the only victim is the State of Florida.


Officers usually have a wide range of discretion in regard to juvenile misdemeanor cases.  Additional alternative remedies to arrest and procedures that may be used by officers to divert juvenile offenders from the court system include, but are not limited to, the following:


                                1.            Release at the scene with no further action taken by the officer;


                                                2.            Completing a field interview (C.J.I.S. Report) and releasing;


                                                3.            In-custody Warning:


The officer detains the juvenile, contacts the parents and transports the child to the nearest community service center.   If, after a review of the allegations the officer feels justice would best be served by a warning and all parties agree (including any victims), the deputy will warn and release the juvenile to their parents.  Such diversion action will be documented by the officer.


                                                4.            Informal Referrals


If, in the opinion of the officer, a juvenile is in need of services that could best be provided by agencies other than the court system (Children and Family Services, public school system, private counselors, etc…), and if all parties agree, juveniles and their parents may be referred to that social service agency with no further action taken in behalf of the officer;


                                                5.            Corrective Action by Parents:


If all parties agree, a juvenile offender may be turned over to their parents for corrective action with no further action taken by the officer;

NOTE:   All diversion actions taken by officers, with the exception of simple release in the field, will be documented either on a C.J.I.S. or Incident Report.


                                                6.            Traffic Citation:


Juveniles may be issued traffic citations to be handled in the same manner as adult traffic violations, with exceptions as pertains to court dates or other considerations;

                                                7.            Non-physical arrest via use of a Notice to Appear summons;


8.          Non-physical arrest via use of a Notice to Appear summons, with a written recommendation to the State Attorney’s Office within the report’s narrative the juvenile be referred to the Prosecution Alternatives for Youth (P.A.Y.) Program; or,


9.         Physically arresting the offender, but with a written recommendation to the State Attorney’s Office within the report’s narrative that the juvenile be referred to the Prosecution Alternatives for Youth (P.A.Y.) Program.


C.            The decision by an officer to physically arrest, release, summons, divert to the P.A.Y. program, or utilize some other method of diversion should be based upon consideration of the following:


                                                1.            The nature of the offense;


                                                2.            The age and circumstances of the offender;


                                                3.            The offender’s record, if any;


                                                4.            The child’s physical and mental condition;


                                                5.            The attitude of the parents;


                                                6.            The recommendation of the victim or complainant;


                                                7.            The juvenile’s attitude; and,


8.            The availability of community-based rehabilitation programs, including the P.A.Y. program.


III.           Discretion:


The Police Department recognizes the importance of allowing Officers to use discretion when handling calls for service.  The proper use of discretion in regard to juvenile offenders is crucial to the success of the Police Department Juvenile Operation function.


An Officer’s discretionary decisions will be limited if a juvenile meets certain criteria. A juvenile should be arrested and referred to the State Attorney Intake in such cases as:


                                A.            An act that if committed by an adult would be a felony;


                                B.            An act involving weapons;


                                C.            Serious gang-related acts;


                                D.            Acts involving aggravated assault or battery;


   E.            Delinquent acts committed by a juvenile while on probation or parole or who has a case pending;


                                F.            Repeated delinquent acts (within the preceding twelve months);


   G.           A juvenile who had been previously assigned to a diversion program but has refused to participate;


                                H.            Where it has been determined that parental supervision is not effective.


IV.          Arrest of Juveniles:


A.            With the exception of the procedures for reports and prisoner transportation that are                 addressed within the Enforcement Policy and Procedures “Report Writing and Distribution” and “Prisoner Transportation”; the arrest procedures that are defined within the Enforcement Policy and Procedure “Arrest and Detention” shall be followed when taking juvenile into custody.


B.            Juveniles may be taken into custody for a violation of law, delinquent act or pursuant to an order of a court.


C.            Officers will ensure that the constitutional rights of juveniles are protected.  Miranda Warnings will be given to any juvenile arrested for committing a violation of law prior to any questioning that could be self-incriminating.  It is important to remember that juveniles have all the basic rights of adults.  Juveniles will also be advised that they have the right to have a parent present during questioning just as they may have an attorney present.


1.            The location selected to conduct an interview could mean the difference between receiving a confession or truthful statement, or not receiving a statement at all.  Whenever possible, interviews should be conducted in a controlled environment that is free from distractions, noise and interruptions.


2.            Generally there should be no more than two officers engaging in the interview.


3.         No person should be interviewed for an unreasonable period of time.   Regular breaks for the purposes of refreshment will be allowed.  The duration of questioning shall be governed by the time of day and nature and severity of the crime under investigation.

4.       The interviewing Officer shall inform the suspect and any parent/guardian present of the procedure regarding interviewing and the juvenile justice system as it relates to their particular case.


D.            The arresting Officer will make reasonable attempt to notify the juvenile’s parent or legal guardian as soon as practical and shall continue such attempts until the parent or guardian is notified; or the child is delivered to a Juvenile Justice intake counselor who will arrange for the child’s release.  Attempts at notification should include:


1.            The arresting Officer attempting contact with the parents by telephone;


2.            The arresting Officer may request other personnel to attempt to locate the parents at their residence or place of business.


3.            Officers who complete Capias requests on juvenile offenders will also notify the parents.


4.            Notification and unsuccessful attempts of notification to the parents are to be articulated within the Officer’s narrative report.


NOTE:       Effective October 1, 1994, state legislation was enacted to require a juvenile arrested for domestic violence involving a battery to be detained at a juvenile detention facility and appear before a judge.


E.          If a juvenile commits a felony, especially one in which violence, weapons, or other similar factors are present, taking the juvenile into custody is mandatory.


F.            Pursuant to an “Order to Take Into Custody” (O.T.I.C.) or “pick-up” (detention) order issued by a court; the order will direct the Officer to take into custody and deliver the child to a specific location (such as the Juvenile Assessment Center, detention facility, Seminole County Mental Health, etc…).


G.           A juvenile taken into custody shall be transported without undue delay to the Juvenile                 Assessment Center for the purpose of having fingerprints and photographs taken (pursuant to F.S.S. 985.212) and have the proper booking information and arrest affidavit completed, unless:


1.            A medical emergency requires transportation from the scene of the arrest to a hospital;


H.            There must be a specific order of a court to hold a juvenile in custody at the correctional facility.


I.             When a juvenile is a student at a school; regardless of attendance status, the arresting officer will notify the school when a juvenile has been taken into custody for a delinquent act or law violation involving a crime of violence or in which a deadly weapon was used.


1.            The Seminole County Superintendent has designated the principal of each school to receive notice;


2.            Notification may be accomplished verbally at the time of booking;


3.         The arresting Officer will record the date and time of the notification in the narrative of the arrest report, and will include the name of the person to whom notification was made.


V.            Non-Criminal Custody Situations:


Certain situations may call for an officer to detain in protective custody a child that is homeless, truant, runaway, the victim of assault, battery, child abuse, or when adult(s) who are with the child have been arrested.


                                A.            Truancy:


If an officer has reasonable grounds to believe that a juvenile is absent from school without permission the officer may take the child into custody without the use of restraints.


1.            The officer will determine the child’s age, address, parent or guardian’s name and telephone number and                    the name of the school to which the child attends;


2.            If the child is over sixteen years of age they must be released at the scene (a C.J.I.S. report should be             considered);


3.            If the child has a work permit or other certificate exempting the child from school attendance they must be  released at the scene;


4.            A telephone call should be placed to the school to ascertain is the child is registered there and if the              parent or guardian has notified the school that the child has permission to be absent from school;


5.        If the school has been notified by the parent that the child has permission to be absent from school, no further action is necessary;


6.           If the child is registered at the school and no notification by the parent has been made that the child will be absent that day, the child should be taken to the Seminole Truancy Alternative for Youth (S.T.A.Y.) center and turned over to the center’s personnel.  Unless extraordinary circumstances are present that would merit extensive documentation, the officer may release the juvenile after completing a C.J.I.S. Report.


7.            The officer should ensure that the parents of the child have or will be contacted prior to leaving the facility.


                                B.            Runaways:


If a juvenile has run away, he/she may be taken into custody with or without the use of restraints depending upon the situation and delivered to the Juvenile Assessment Center, which is the approved Department of Juvenile Justice Runaway Shelter, parent or guardian, or Department of Children and Families intake.


NOTE:   If the child is taken to the J.A.C., an interview will be conducted to determine any abuse or neglect which may have caused the child to become a runaway.


                                C.            Health Hazard:


1.            If a child is believed to be suffering from a serious physical condition that requires                 prompt diagnosis or treatment, the child shall be taken into protective custody and delivered to a hospital for necessary evaluation and treatment pursuant to the Enforcement Policy and Procedure “Non-Custodial Arrest, Discretion and Diversion Programs”.


2.            If a child is believed to be mentally ill and fits the criteria for Baker Act consideration, the officer may take into protective custody and deliver the child to a designated mental health receiving facility pursuant to the Enforcement Policy and Procedure “Non-custodial Arrest, discretion and Diversion Programs”.


3.            If the child appears to be substance abuse impaired and as a result has threatened, attempted, or inflicted physical harm on him/herself or another, or is incapacitated by substance abuse, the officer may take into protective custody and deliver the child to a hospital or other designated facility, pursuant to the Enforcement Policy and Procedure “Non-custodial Arrest, Discretion, and Diversion Programs”.


4.            An officer taking a child into protective custody will, as soon as possible, attempt to notify the child’s              parents or nearest relative in regard to the protective action.


                                           5.            The officer shall document such action on a C.J.I.S. Report.


                                D.            Ungovernable:


Florida law does not authorize an officer to take into custody a child based on a complaint that the child is beyond a parent’s control.  The officer is authorized to counsel the child and parents and/or to refer them to counseling services through the CINS/FINS provider.


                                E.            Child Abuse:


If an officer has reasonable grounds to believe that a child has been abandoned, abused or neglected; is suffering from illness or injury; or is in immediate danger from surroundings, and that removal is necessary to protect the child; the officer may take into custody and release the child to personnel of the Department of Children and Family Services.  An officer is required to deliver a sexually exploited child who is alleged to be dependent to the Department of Children and Family Services for placement in a short-term safe house. When an officer comes in contact with a sexually exploited child, they are required to call the child abuse hotline. The officer’s call to the hotline, and the outcome of the telephone call, must be documented in the officer’s report.  If there is a crime committed, the officer shall investigate and document the incident in an Incident Report. If there is no criminal violation the incident should be documented in a C.J.I.S. Report.


Note: The definition of a child who is found to be dependent includes, but is not limited to, a child who was sexually exploited and has no parent/relative to provide supervision and care. The definition of sexual abuse of a child, for the purpose of finding a child to be dependent, includes a child offering to engage in prostitution, if the child is not under arrest or in delinquency proceeding or participating in sex trafficking. 



F.                Adult Companion Arrested:


Situations may arise when an adult is arrested while in the company of a juvenile.  When this occurs the arresting officer shall:


1.            Attempt to locate a parent or guardian that can come to the scene to take custody of the child; or


2.            Have a D.C.F.S. case worker respond to take custody of the child;


3.            Release the child to another adult at the direction of a parent or guardian;


4.            Have an assist unit take the child home if an adult is there that can take custody;


5.            If the child is sixteen years of age; the child may be released at the scene at the direction of a parent or guardian, but only if by so doing the child’s safety will not be compromised.  Or, and at the direction of a parent or guardian, the child may be taken home and left there by an assist unit.


VI.          Post Arrest Processing of Juvenile Arrests:


An arresting officer’s responsibility to the successful prosecution of cases or the diversion of juvenile offenders from the criminal justice system is not concluded with the actual arrest or initial diversion action.  Officers shall be responsible for:


A.            Proper, correct, and complete submission of arrest case packages.   Prior to submitting a                 juvenile case package for supervisory review and submission to the State Attorney’s Office an officer will ensure that:


1.            All required reports or forms are completed to the best of the officer’s ability;


2.            The narrative portion of reports are complete and easily understandable;


                                          3.            The narrative establishes probable cause for the arrest;


4.            Any recommendations of the officer and others as to referral of a juvenile offender to the P.A.Y. or other available diversion programs are included;


                                           5.            All victim, witness and suspect information is recorded; and,


                                           6.            The report is properly marked “JUVENILE”.


B.            Supervisors reviewing arrest reports will ensure that all of the above criteria have been satisfied before forwarding case packages to the Records Division, State Attorney’s Office, Clerk of the Court, and the Department of Juvenile Justice.


C.            Officers will follow-up juvenile arrests and will assist the State Attorney’s Office with any                 further case coordination or preparation assistance as may be required.   Officers will, on a timely basis, answer all inquiries made to them by the Assistant State Attorney handling their case, as well as respond to all subpoenas served them by defense counsel.


     D.            When requested, officers will participate in hearings that are conducted by the Prosecution Alternatives for Youth                       (P.A.Y.) program, and will assist counselors in post-arrest handling of a case as may be requested.