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An important function of the Youth and Family Services Division is to protect youth. Law enforcement is part of this, but another part is ensuring that young people have interesting, positive things to do (for example, PAL summer camp, as shown ).
This portion of the OPD website focuses on what OPD does to protect and encourage Oakland's youth. It is divided into three sections:
Youth Services Investigations
The Youth and Family Services Division investigates
- Rape and other sexual crimes
- Domestic violence
- Pimping & pandering
- Missing persons
- Child abuse
- Conducts follow up investigations of crimes involving juvenile suspects.
Missing Persons/Abduction Unit
- Conducts follow-up investigations and attempts to locate reported missing persons or runaways.
- Investigates and attempts to locate children abducted by non-custodial parents.
- Maintains 24-hour facility.
- Provides contact and referral of juveniles to Alameda County Probation Department.
- Provides follow-up investigations of juvenile referral cases to Alameda County Probation Department.
For additional information, go to the Youth and Family Services Division portion of the Criminal Investigation Division page, or call (510) 238-3641.
About Megan’s Law
Megan's Law makes information about registered sex offenders accessible to you. We encourage you to read the information on this website and remain alert regarding your children’s safety.
Megan's Law was named after seven-year-old Megan Kanka, who was murdered by a registered sex offender living across the street. Megan’s parents were determined that other children should be better protected from such predators. Through the efforts of Megan’s parents and supporters, states throughout America began to pass legislation that allowed the public to view the information of certain registered sex offenders living in their state. This new legislation became known as Megan's Law.
Information on the Megan’s Law site can provide you with general statistics on registered sex offenders believed to be living in your Oakland zip code.
How Do Molesters Operate?
Molesters know how to get near children by being friendly or giving them things they like (toys, candy or money). They are clever at manipulating children to get what they want.
A molester often plays with the child when other adults are not around and will encourage activities for just the two of them. The molester may tell the child that a parent or pet will be killed if the secret sexual activity is reported. If the child does not feel safe to talk about such experiences with a trusted adult, the molester remains in control. Teach your children that they can talk to you about any problem or worry they may have.
What Children Should Know
Teach young children to say a strong “NO!” to any adult who misbehaves.
Tell your child not to speak to strangers. But remember, often the molester is someone the child knows - a relative, a neighbor, a teacher, or a family friend. The abuse can happen in the home of the victim child or of the abuser.
Safety Rules for Kids
It is best to tell your child these safety rules from an early age. Explain that some adult behavior is not okay.
- Stay away from people who call to you from a car even if the person offers a "fun" experience or asks you for directions. If you go near the car you may be grabbed and taken away.
- Don't go with an adult who says your parent or caretaker needs you somewhere else. Check with your teacher or principal first.
- If someone tries to take you away, YELL “This is not my father (or mother)” and KEEP YELLING very loudly. Knock things over if you can, so that people will notice something bad is happening.
- If you get lost in a store, go to the checkout counter right away. Do not wander around or go with a stranger.
- If someone tries to bother you, always tell your mom or dad or guardian.
- Don’t let anyone touch you in the parts of your body that your bathing suit covers. And you should not touch anybody else in those places either. Don't be ashamed to tell if that happens.
- Don’t let anyone take your picture outside school unless your mom, dad, or guardian says it's okay.
Programs for Young People
The Oakland Police Department supports a range of programs for children and youth in our city. Some target at-risk young people, or those who may have already taken a wrong step. Others offer opportunities to explore careers in law enforcement and the justice system. The Department sponsors the following programs for young people:
- Oakland PAL
- Oakland Police Explorers
- OK (Our Kids)
- GREAT Program
Scroll down to find details about each of these programs.
What is the PAL Program?
The Oakland Police Activities League (PAL) is a program dedicated to offering programs and opportunities for kids to work with positive role models and learn about success and failure without guns and drugs.
Sub-Bantams racing at the Tommie Smith Youth
Track Meet, UC Berkeley, May 2010 (left, Areina Walker)
How Much Does PAL Cost?
There is no cost. Kids can join and participate in PAL for free.
Where Can I Find a PAL Center?
- The East Oakland PAL Center is located at 9600 Sunnyside Street, Verdese Carter Park.
- The West Oakland PAL Center is located at 3131 Union Street, Willie Keys/Poplar Park.
Are There Age Limits to Participate?
Oakland PAL works with kids from 5 to18 years old.
Where Can I Find Out More About PAL?
For additional information, visit the Oakland PAL website.
Oakland Police Explorers
What is the Police Explorers Program?
The Oakland Police Explorers program is designed for high school students who are at least 14.5 years old and want a chance to see what law enforcement is all about. Explorers get an opportunity to prove themselves and be recognized for their accomplishments. The program’s objectives are those of the Learning for Life Program:
- Career Opportunities
- Service Learning
- Leadership Experience
- Life Skills
- Character Education
The Oakland Police Department has participated in Exploring since 1965. Its Explorers Program is considered one of the oldest law enforcement Exploring posts in the Bay Area.
What Do Explorers Do?
Explorers . . .
- Attend weekly meetings, which include law-enforcement-related instruction and physical training
- Go on Patrol ride-alongs
- Participate in Community Services details and Decoy programs
- Provide support staffing to the PAL youth program
- Attend local and national Explorer law enforcement conferences and competitions
What Are the Eligibility Requirements?
- Students must be in high school and at least 14.5 years old
- Students must have and maintain a grade point average of 2.0 or better
- Students must have average or better attendance and discipline records.
- The Explorers program is not a delinquency prevention program. Applicants must be free from felony and serious misdemeanor convictions.
How Can I Apply?
If you are interested in the Explorer Program at the Oakland Police Department, contact the Explorer Advisors:
- Officer Mildred Oliver - Oakland PAL, 510-615-5758, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Officer Jumaal Hill - Oakland PAL, 510-615-5758, email@example.com
OK (Our Kids) Program
What Is the OK Program?
The OK Program focuses on reducing the high incarceration and homicide rates of African-American young men (12 - 18 years old). Since its inception, no graduate of the OK Program has ever been sentenced to prison or been the victim of a homicide. In fact, the majority of OK graduates have gone on to college, military service, or enroll in vocational training. More significantly, all participants have assumed responsible citizenship roles in their communities.
The mission of the OK Program is to facilitate partnerships between police agencies, educational institutions, students, community members, businesses, and the faith community.
The OK Program:
- Provides needed services to youth who are at high risk of incarceration and homicide (with an intense focus on African-American young men).
- Promotes economic self-reliance.
- Encourages responsible citizenship and civic leaders for the 21st Century.
How Much Does the OK Program Cost?
There is no cost. Young men can join and participate in OK for free.
Are There Age Limits to Participate?
The OK Program works with young men from 12 to 18 years old and is especially targeted to middle school youth.
Where Can I Find Out More About the OK Program?
- Interested in enrolling a student or becoming a teammate?
- Call (510) 238-7998
- Go to the OK Program website
The Gang, Resistance, Education and Training program (GREAT) is a structured, school-based program implemented in areas where gang activity either exists or is emerging. The curriculum is taught in various Oakland Unified Schools and Charter Schools by certified uniformed police officers. There are two curriculums. The middle school curriculum is 13 weeks long and taught to fifth and/or sixth graders. The elementary school curriculum is 6 weeks long and taught to fourth graders.
For more information, visit the GREAT Program website.