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Police Department opens enrollment to program for “at risk” youth and their parents

Not to be confused with “scared straight," 4th - 6th graders learn classroom etiquette, internet safety, and drug dangers

The O.W.E. program in 2051
Riverside Police Department

Does post-pandemic pre-teen parenting have you longing for the days when the latest episode of Paw Patrol was the most dramatic thing in your home? If you answered “yes”, the Riverside Police Department’s upcoming O.W.E. Jr. juvenile intervention and prevention program for 4th through 6th graders may be of interest to you.

Though it targets “at-risk” youth and their parents, the O.W.E. Jr., short for Opportunity With Education, is not to be confused with a “scared straight” type program. “We have learned over time that those aren’t the best ways to get a teenager to change their behaviors,” says Officer Ryan Railsback, “we are looking at changing kids from within, but also their parents as well. We’re tying to show our kids that for every choice they are going to make there is some kind of consequence, good or bad.” 

Meeting from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. for six Saturday mornings beginning February 18 at California Baptist University, OWE Jr. requires parent or legal guardian attendance alongside children for what RPD says will be “positive interactions” with police officers, educators, and prosecutors, “rather than the negative influences they encounter in their different environments.”

Each class includes a mix of group counseling for parents and students, “drill exercises” to teach discipline, and topical presentations. Topics covered include:

  • Boundaries
  • School & Classroom Etiquette
  • Internet, Social Media, and Gaming Safety
  • Drug Awareness (vaping, marijuana, pills, Fentanyl)
  • Riverside Youth Judo Class
  • “Dreams Come True” Presentation

Applications are open online until class is full.