Deputy Chief Melron Kelly is in the nation’s capital today, highlighting Columbia Police Department (CPD) programs that reduce and prevent youth violence.
“We cannot arrest or prosecute our way out of a crime problem,” says Deputy Chief Kelly. “We must boost funding for community policing that improves relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve.” He added, “This allows us to partner directly with youth who are most likely to be caught up in the cycle of violence.”
As a participant of the ‘Cities United 2017 Summit’, a national movement of more than 90 mayors, police chiefs and community stakeholders to discuss strategies that keep communities safe, Deputy Chief Kelly discussed the following programs offered by CPD:
- Young Ambassadors for Justice Student Roundtable: A program geared toward promoting a mutual dialogue between CPD and local high school to reduce risk behaviors and promote positive youth development. The effort is an extension of the 21st Century Policing Initiative of building trust and legitimacy.
- Operation R.I.S.K. (Rescuing Inner City Students and Kids): A proactive and educational youth program designed to help deter youths 11-16 from criminal behavior or association. The program also gives parents an effective alternative in helping their child become responsible and productive members of society.
- Police Cadet Program: This program places youth aspiring to be police officers, who are at least 18 years old, in various positions with the CPD to aid in establishing on-the-job law enforcement training.
- My Brother’s Keeper: This national program is designed to encourage citied to identify best practices that will aid in the positive development of young African-American boys and men. City of Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin launched the initiative in September 2014.
In particular, the efforts ‘forge a national network of communities focused on eliminating violence in American cities related to African American men and boys.’
For more information about Cities United, visit: http://citiesunited.org/
Deputy Chief Kelly is a Columbia native who joined CPD in 1999 after being a police cadet and graduating from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. His first assignment was serving as the residential officer in the Waverly community.
Last year, Deputy Chief Kelly was selected as the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) ‘40 under 40’ award winner, and was most recently inducted into the Columbia Housing Authority’s Wall of Fame. Chief Kelly was also part of the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Class of South Carolina Black Pages, 20 Under 40 Awards in 2015.
Kelly received a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from South Carolina State University and is a member of various community and social organizations, including NAACP, NOBLE and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.