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Juvenile crime prevention program launches in Sun Prairie

The Sun Prairie Excel Institute is focused on connecting with at-risk youth in the community.
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 6:34 PM CDT
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SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (WMTV) - Community members in Sun Prairie are looking to curb teen violence and involvement in crimes like shootings, drug activity and auto thefts.

Founders Larry Tabron and Deanna Nelson say it’s a project they’ve been working on for over a year.

“If we don’t get ahead of it, we’re going to be behind it,” said Tabron. “It’s treacherous when you’re behind crime.”

The organization officially launched at the end of June and has already connected with partners in the Dane County Sheriff’s Office and local law enforcement.

Tabron says a big part of the program is street outreach and learning to listen to teens.

“A conversation creates a level of understanding where there is no misunderstanding,” said Tabron.

Nelson says giving young people different opportunities can open doors.

“It’s helping them see that there’s another way besides the path that they’re taking,” said Nelson. “We want to reduce trauma and make their lives better so they want to continue in a productive path.”

Unfortunately, several juveniles find themselves appearing in the Dane County courthouse for their involvement in crimes.

Judge Everett Mitchell, presiding judge of the Dane County juvenile division, says often times, troubled teens have gone through trauma before they even reach middle school.

“It’s painful when you have to see that,” said Judge Mitchell. “We really don’t want to see these young children graduating to these offenses or find themselves in broken situations.”

Judge Mitchell says community partners are essential to violence prevention.

“Courts and systems can’t solve this,” said Judge Mitchell. “If we can reduce crime and maximize the future for our young people. I know that Dane County will be rewriting a narrative that will impact our entire state.”

Tabron and Nelson are eager to get to work and form lasting relationships with kids in the area.

“We need to find out why is this happening here, where is it generating from, and how can we kill it,” said Tabron. “We want our community to know that there’s a voice out here.”

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