Juvenile Justice and Community Support Programs return to the Gainesville Police Department; Reichert House will end in its current form after May 31

Press release from the City of Gainesville

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Gainesville City Manager Cynthia W. Curry, in consultation with former Police Chief Tony Jones, will end the departmental status of the City of Gainesville’s Juvenile Justice and Community Support Programs and place them back under the oversight of the Gainesville Police Department. This returns the programs to where they began, opens the door to community collaboration, and serves as a positive step forward in the City’s effort to streamline programs and services.

“This is the time to reset and align Juvenile Justice and Community Support Programs with the multitude of resources that are available in our community,” said City Manager Curry. “Gainesville is looking for creative ways to continue supporting its young people.”

Each of the three programs aimed at assisting youth will transition to GPD as follows:

  • The “Interrupters” are a group of advocates and caseworkers who specialize in mediation to prevent gun violence. This program is funded by a state grant that extends through June 2023.
  • The Brave Overt Leaders of Distinction (B.O.L.D.) Re-Entry Program helps young men find support services to pursue educational and job opportunities. This long-running and successful program will transition back into the GPD organization for further management and review.
  • The Reichert House Youth Academy is an afterschool program for boys in need of assistance while making the transition from adolescence to adulthood. This program in its current frame of operation under the City will end on May 31, 2023, which marks the end of the school term.

“The Reichert House Youth Academy has a good, strong history of helping youth in need of structure and support,” City Manager Curry said. “It does important work across the City of Gainesville. We are confident that the mission of Reichert House resonates as strongly with community partners as it does with the City of Gainesville, and those partners will step up with resources that will allow young people who are at-risk to have access to the opportunities they need.”

Meetings to address the future of the Reichert House program are already underway, as the City works to achieve a successful transition. Chief Jones, who has vast experience working with youth in Gainesville, will provide coordination and support as Reichert House begins the process of becoming independent of City operations.

“The City has taken Reichert House as far as it can go,” said Chief Jones, who has spent 30 years as a leader with the program. “We have shepherded this over a long period of time, and now is the moment for community partners to reset the vision and operations of this critical program, providing services to young men struggling to survive and thrive in this community.”

To date, collaborative partners interested in reimagining Reichert House as a community-based entity include Palm Breeze Youth Services, Inc., The Children’s Trust of Alachua County, Black on Black Crime Task Force, the University of Florida, Alachua County Public Schools – Student Services Team, and the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.

  • If the Reichart house was so good why is there so many shootings on the east side?

    • I wonder what the stats are for those that attended Reichart house and later arrested.

    • You can’t save them all, that being said I personally know multiple success stories that began at the RH off the top of my head one is a OTR CDL Truck Driver, at least 2 Deputies and a Corrections Officer for ACSO and one of my good friends who is a very successful site manager for an extremely successful local construction company and i’m not even from Gainesville. How many times have you volunteered your time to address the issues on the Eastside of town. If you aren’t part of the solution then you’re part of the problem. let’s break down these lines of Eastside, Westside, Tioga, Haile blah blah blah. Let’s just be a community that helps each other. Until we see Gainesville as one community and not the “good parts of town and the Eastside” we won’t see a true change. Truth is, we need people from all over to make a real change and to hold the right people accountable. In order to make a change you have to place yourself in a position to make that change. if you don’t care to see a change, why even comment.

  • Opinion: Reichert House Farce! Here we go again! RH was only moved away from GPD in 2022 after a 2021 state auditor general report found it to be a fiasco (IMHO). Two years before that, all 3 CPAs in the City Auditors Office in 2019 found Reichert House (RH) ( https://www.gainesvillefl.gov/files/assets/public/city-auditor/documents/audit-of-the-city-of-gainesville%E2%80%99s-reichert-house-youth-academy-%E2%80%93-governance-financial-processes-and-performance-metrics-part-a.pdf ) had lots of accounts and funds not properly accounted for. The 501 c3 “Palm Breeze” (having few activities not connected to RH and city of GNV) and “Reichert House Inc” (a separate 501 c3 ran mainly by RH and GPD employees appearing as if it were the city’s and GPD’s RH) seemed to both be used by RH mainly for depositing donations, grants and other funds, resulting in those funds being out of the city’s books and oversight. Even federal grants and GRU donations to the city’s real RH were initially deposited in or transferred to these two 501’s and never properly accounted for by the city. The former chief of police registered Palm Breeze in 2008 and the city’s RH director was a board member and bank account signer for Palm Breeze (not much separation huh?) You can’t make this stuff up! LOL! The former GPD chief has history of reinstating the RH director numerous times over the last 15 or more years after the RH director was removed from his position by other officers who were put in charge of RH (and later removed from RH oversight themselves). See the State Audit in 2021 which found much the same issues as the city audit. Nothing but a shell game here folks. Anyone connected to management and oversight of RH before 2022 should be disassociated ASAP. This whole organization would have a tough time holding up under close scrutiny from real oversight by a separate and distinct regulatory body. This is a substantial and ongoing risk to the CoG. What other city would keep a highly paid ex chief of police around to oversee this? Nowheresville! Perhaps the governor should appoint someone to oversee this right away??This is all too sad, as in many instances, RH can keep some kids out of trouble but is at great risk of losing everything if the city continues to operate it this way. State Auditor General audit: https://www.gainesvillefl.gov/files/content/public/government-pages/government/city-auditor/audit-reports/2022-087-auditor-general-report_final.pdf

    • Does this apparently inept and questionable person still employed by Gainesville? And if so what capacity , job description and salary?

      • Yep! Both, Still there! Ex-Chief is a highly paid “consultant” and the many times relieved, but highly paid, RH Director is still Director, reporting to the ex chief! Nothing has changed, even after the state auditor.

  • ExChief Jones “vast experience” working with youth has led to uncontrolled crime growth by youths. He was the one wanting to slap the wrists of youths violating gun laws and was soft on crime.

    • how so? The Chief of Police literally has nothing to do with sentencing unless you’re referring to secret conversations between him and the judges that are voted in. I worked in the Alachua County Courthouse for years, I only saw him appear a handful of times on major cases. When it comes to sentencing you have to look at the judges and the prosecutors not law enforcement. I’m not condoning any wrongdoing but this is completely incorrect.

  • Reichert House is a home for hoodlums. There was a time some of the miscreants were actually allowed to use city vehicles. That only stopped when fleet managers noticed the repair costs that were accruing.

    • You forgot when a reichert member and others sideswiped a driver and took off and other various accidents, some resulting in lawsuits against the city.

    • Wasn’t there some type of sexual incident that happened in a Reichert House vehicle or something like that a few years back?

      • Mostly correct: here is an excerpt: In 2011, Kelvin Mattair, then a non-city employee who worked with the nonprofit Black on Black Crime Task Force, was driving a Reichert House van when he crashed into another vehicle stopped at a red light. The city settled a lawsuit 2013 with the victims for $180,000, there was also some incident involving RH and a school bus in early 2019.

      • Yes there was and the RH staff blamed it on a lack of training on why they didn’t act accordingly. Bunch of BS. Another IA investigation that went nowhere because of Chief Jones interference.

  • The “BOLD” program is a good program. But lacked staff.
    As far as any other program, unless you get the parents involved and start at an early age, 6 Y.O.A. or younger. The harm has been done to the children. How about the Boy Scouts?

  • The Gainesville Sun |
    “Over the past eight years, the city’s auditor
    office has tried to review Reichert House two
    other times, but until last week, had fallen
    short of its goal. Though the program is run
    by the city, there are related nonprofits and
    donations that bring in additional revenue
    The audit report was only able to review the
    city’s portion of Reichert House, which
    receives about $950,000 a year from the city.
    The city wasn’t allowed to review documents
    from all but one of the nonprofits, the
    auditor said, despite the books being
    managed by city employees on city time.”
    House of cards crumbling down! And the new offshore shell game continues with the Palm Breeze Youth Academy, a nonprofit that produces nothing but a place to hide money the money. The new projected budget for the new RHYA IS A WHOPPING $15 MILLION DOLLARS! Jones will be the city grants director to secure those needed funds by his ” many contacts in juvenile justice”. His position needs to be abolished. His salary is over $200k. Gainesville’s mismanagement lives on and on and on and….SAIEW.

    • Wonder if one of the reasons for lack of cooperation and access is doctored books?
      Some siphoning going on perhaps?

      $1 for you…$2 for me, $2 for you…$3 for me, $3 for you…$4 for me…

  • And you thought GRU was screwed up. Reichert House, BOLD, Interrupted should be run by outside entities.
    GPD has NO business running these groups. As another writer put it so well, Reichert House is a money pit, and for some ‘strange’ reason, certain finance books are off limits. Talk about wrecking city vehicles, I have seen it first hand. Shame though, GPD used to be a premier police dept.

  • Wish the auditing entity would research & come up with a stat on all the former Reichert House kids who went on to get arrested for serious crimes. THEN see if it’s really worth all the money!

  • RH was once upon a time a very useful and adequate program. However over the last 20 yrs there has been a high staff turn over rate and to include the RH director. That position has been staffed by in-house members because Chief Jones allows the RH staff to have too much influence on his decisions and anything RH staff doesn’t like they run to Chief Jones to get him involved. Every GPD Sergeant that has been assigned to oversee RH hldidnt last long cause RH staff didn’t want them there on-site.

  • Not only is Chief Jones making over 200,000 yrly. The RH staff are making on average 55,000 to 60,000 yrly and John Alexander is at 99,000 yrly. Why are there salaries this much when RH is labeled and recognized as a After School Alternative Program. These salaries are way out of bounds and is a disgrace to all the First Responders who put their lives in harms way everyday. Whereas the RH staff is simply dealing with youth’s after school and having 2 to 3 hr lunch breaks and driving around the city in tax payers vans. Waste of money waste of time

  • GPD has no business running social service programs, much less those that have no benefit. Crime has continually risen in Gainesville and the “solution” for the last 10+ years has been to become more soft on violent offenders and coddle teenaged criminals. We have a word for doing things repeatedly and expecting different results: Insanity. These people are insane.

  • They should come up with a free after-school tutoring center. Not a place to hang out. Hang out at home and do your homework. Maybe offer free barber services for anyone wanting a serious haircut instead of looking like a criminal.

  • Our city is broke and the city leaders can’t manage a damn thing. Cut the funding NOW and stop the wasteful spending cause you blew all the $$$ on BS programs that don’t fix hoodlums.

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