Levelland Police were dispatched Sunday afternoon to a disturbance at the Children’s Hope Facility in the 1300 Block of West Washington. Police were informed that one of the juvenile residents was on the roof of the facility and at least three juveniles had broke into the storage building and stole a tablet.
While officers were on the scene a staff member stated the juveniles were breaking out windows and fighting with staff members. The officer asked the staff member where the other employees were, she stated “they have all quit.” The only other staff member on the scene was the facility administrator. On Sunday, according to staff, the three juveniles were able to escape through the open door when they were trying to fix a broken window which had been kicked out by juvenile in a previous incident Sunday.
Officers attempted to take control of the scene and got the two juveniles on the ground to go inside and worked to get the individual off the roof as he was deemed a threat to himself and others. As an officer was trying to talk to the administrator, he heard a disturbance inside the facility with one of the residents yelling at a staff member to stop pushing him, the officer noted one resident had the staff member pinned against the wall. The officer was able to get the juvenile off of the staff member and guided him gently to the living area of the facility and told him to stay put, the juvenile stated he could still get out of the facility and told the officer, we are not scared of you. The officer told him he could say what he wanted but he was not getting out the door.
Officers got the facility administrator outside to discuss the situation. Officers voiced safety concerns with the children and staff and the administrator agreed that it was an unsafe environment currently and she stated the children had taken control of the facility. Officers said that CPS would need to be contacted for assistance and possibly an emergency removal. The administrator, Sonya Garza said that she had contacted CPS and they said it would be two weeks before anything could be done. While the officer was talking to the administrator, he heard other officers inside the facility yelling for help. Officers said the same juvenile was assaulting a staff member. As the officer entered the facility he saw the juvenile he had dealt with already was being restrained by the staff member trying to get him to keep his hands off of her, the officer removed the juvenile and guided him to keep him from going towards the staff. Officers then decided for the safety of all involved the juvenile had to be handcuffed. The juvenile began resisting and was fighting with officers. It took several officers to get the juvenile on the ground and handcuffed. The juvenile was finally handcuffed and was informed by officers he was under arrest. He was escorted to the officers vehicle. By this time the juvenile on the roof had come down and officers got him back inside the facility.
Officers then spoke to the staff member to get details on the last altercation. The staff member stated that she was standing in the front door of the facility, following protocol to keep the juvenile from leaving, she then stated that the juvenile had punched her in the chest, she then stated she put the juvenile in a restraint and waited for officers to get in and restrain the juvenile from continuing the assault on the staff member. During the interview another juvenile was throwing items against the wall in the living area, another officer come in and placed the second juvenile under arrest and secured him in the back of a patrol vehicle without incident. The two juveniles were transported to the juvenile processing area of the law enforcement center and processed.
Officers then contacted the on call Juvenile Probation Officer to notify them of the charges and the probable cause for arrest. The Juvenile Probation Officer stated that since the juveniles lived at the facility they could destroy and/or enter Children’s Hope property. The Juvenile Probation Officer refused to transport the two for the assault against a staff member or resisting arrest. Officers then stopped filling out paperwork and transported the two back to Children’s Hope and they were released to staff.
The officer noted in the report that due to numerous calls and situations at the facility, the children had taken complete control of the facility. It was noted that police have handled numerous run aways from the facility. For these reasons, law enforcement contacted Child Protective Services. The CPS intake officer stated they were limited in what could be done and she understands the facility is causing problems for law enforcement. She stated she would be forwarding a report to the licensing agency.