Although it's not illegal for students to skip school in the state of Florida, Broward County authorities saw a correlation between truancy and crime and enlisted the Sheriff's Office in an anti-truancy program. The result has been a marked drop in both truancy and youth crime.
Three years ago, Broward Sheriff Jenne helped lead the formation of the Broward County Truancy Reduction and Intervention Program (TRIP), a partnership between the Broward County School Board, the Broward State Attorney's Office, the Broward County Commissioners, and local law enforcement.
"The Broward Sheriff's Office is serious about making sure that children go to school every day," says Jenne. "When they're in the classroom and off the street, they are less likely to get into trouble, less likely to break the law, and less likely to end up behind bars."
The TRIP initiative appears to be working. More than 12,000 truants were picked up in Broward during the first school year vs. 1,500 the previous school year. Last year more than 17,000 truants were sent back to class. As a result, certain daytime crimes such as burglary, auto theft, and vandalism are down 51 percent in the jurisdictions of the Broward Sheriff's Office.