Wilton Manors may terminate its collaborative agreement regarding the Preventing Recidivism through Opportunities, Mentoring, Interventions, Supports & Education program [PROMISE]. Other parties which have signed onto PROMISE, which began in 2013, include the NAACP, various local law enforcement agencies, and the state attorney’s office.
As part of the agreement, when a student commits a non-violent misdemeanor within the school system, Wilton Manors police officers are directed to attempt to find an alternative to arresting the student. The student still faces consequences, but the purpose is to keep the student out of the criminal justice system.
The issue was on the March 27 commission agenda, but commissioners delayed a decision. After the meeting, Vice Mayor Justin Flippen said he didn’t have enough information on the program to make a decision at the time.
Dr. Katherine Campbell, a resident of the city and owner of Katharine Campbell Counseling & Consulting, located in Wilton Manors, expressed her support for PROMISE.
She said the program serves various youth groups, including LGBTQ students, and that the program is 90 percent effective in its goal of preventing future bad behavior. She also said that the Stoneman Douglas shooter was not a part of PROMISE. “As a clinical social worker, and someone whose provided services to marginalized youth in our community, had the shooter been directed to PROMISE we may have not even be having this conversation . . . We need to do more, not less.”
In a recent interview with the Sun Sentinel, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert said the shooter was not part of PROMISE. In a 2015 Sun Sentinel article, data about PROMISE showed that 90 percent of students who went through the program did not commit another offense.
In an interview, Wilton Manors Police Chief Paul O’Connell said that he and other police chiefs wanted to see changes made to PROMISE. Specifically, O’Connell said he thinks the students get too many chances  and the principals of the students who qualify for PROMISE, “rather than the bureaucracy,” should get more discretion over what happens.