The CRB Outreach Specialist Team responds to alarming community events (Priority One Critical Incidents) which have the possibility of further violence. This Outreach Specialist Team addresses situations where incidents have potential to negatively impact the daily lives of City of Cleveland residents and visitors. In addition, the team takes a proactive approach to those neighborhood issues which, if not investigated, may grow to the level where police assistance is needed.
The CRB Outreach Specialist Team responsibilities include violence interruption, community engagement, critical incident stress management/debriefing and other overall outreach strategies. CRB also performs mediation, de-escalation and redirection activities within the community, schools and neighborhood resource recreation centers. Through mentorship activities in schools and neighborhoods, CRB Outreach Specialist Team provides youth and young adults with employment connections, training, and coordinate reentry services for *returning citizens (*formerly incarcerated youth and young adults). When presented with social and psychological issues, CRB Outreach Specialist Team will refer those impacted to trauma proper services for help.
The actual mediations occur in several ways. Violence mediators may talk over the phone or one-on-one with key players or influential, host small group sit-downs or peacekeeping sessions, foster diplomacy between groups, or bring in a respected third party to dissuade further violence and/or negotiate conflicts. Once the key individuals have been approached or convened, violence interrupters employ a variety of different strategies to diffuse the situation, including creating cognitive dissonance by demonstrating contradictory thinking; changing the understanding of the situation to one which does not require violence; allowing parties to air their grievances; dispelling any misunderstandings; conveying the true costs of using violence; buying time to let emotions cool; and seeking out individuals who can use their influence to further assist in cooling down the situation with a potential shooter.
Fresh Start Program
In November 2021, CRB initiated the Fresh Start Reentry Program based on a pilot project from 2019 with the then Office of Prevention, Intervention, and Opportunity for Youth and Young Adults. Partnering with the City of Cleveland Department of Recreation, Ohio Department of Youth Services, and Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court, the current program provides one-on-one and group mentoring to youth ages 12-21 and their families.