Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,250,000)
Since 2011, the Teen and Police Service Academy, (originally funded by a U.S. Department of Justice grant and founded by the Houston Police Department) has become a national philosophy of reducing the social distance between the most at-risk youth and police. It has created pre- and post-test outcomes of improving “like”, “trust”, “respect” and 50 other delinquency and social bonding elements 30% to 60% in a multitude of settings including juvenile justice facilities, school-based programs, and summer camp settings. TAPS curriculum is certified by the Texas Education Agency to grant one high school credit to 8th - 12th graders through the TEEN POL course. This curriculum teaches life skills in the areas of bullying/cyberbullying, anger management, conflict resolution, avoidance of gang life and drug usage, allows youth to set goals through a 20 -year plan, team building and leadership interactive activities. Additionally, each TAPS Academy program requires youth and police to work together through a service-learning project.
In 2015, long out-living the funding of a 2-year COPS grant, TAPS Academy became an independent, citizen-led, 501c(3) non-profit serving youth and police internationally. In 2016, the TAPS Center opened to be the leader in evidence-based programming, research, training and teaching to reduce the social distance between at-risk youth and police. Academically, TAPS is interwoven into the University of Houston-Clear Lake, offering the only Youth and Police Studies Minor, world-wide.
This grant would allow TAPS Mentoring Academy to expand to 20 different states (outside of Texas), in addition to its 6 active states. TAPS Multistate Mentoring Academy will serve 2250 youth, and train over 100 Officer Mentors across the nation. The youth will receive 106 hours of contact over 18 months, costing $1741 per youth served. The pre/post/post-post test research design will allow TAPS to fully test the mentoring model in a rigorous setting, testing delinquency, risk factors and substance misuse, while building the study of Youth and Policing.