FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — As Forsyth County law enforcement continues to combat the wave of violence that has involved juvenile offenders and victims, deputies will be getting additional help to handle the situation in a different way.  

Forsyth County Commissioners have approved the use of roughly $2.2 million for the formation of a Juvenile Investigation and Intervention Team, or JIIT.  

The team will consist of nine deputies, including a supervisor, with the funds coming from the American Rescue Action Fund that the county received.  

“This is what we desperately need in our community,” explained Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough about the team.  

The sheriff has been extremely vocal in his push for the program, citing that the number of juveniles being hurt or incarcerated because of violent crimes has hit disturbing levels.  

Numbers from the county show that in 2021, 839 juveniles were shot, 385 were victims of violent crimes, and 78 committed a crime with a firearm.  

In 2021, 36 juveniles were shot, 350 were victims of violent crimes, and 72 were accused of committing a crime with a firearm.  

The deputies in JIIT would investigate crimes where juveniles were involved, in some capacity; crimes that include firearms, school threats, assaults, or runaways. “They’ll be out in the community, they will be spending time off social media, they’re not just going to be idle,” Sheriff Kimbrough said.   

They would also be given names of juveniles who may need direct intervention from deputies to talk through certain problems they’re experiencing in and out of school and will help those children find a mentor or a help program to guide them to something positive.  

The approval came with a 6-1 vote, with Commissioner Dr. Don Martin voting against it.  

He said he was not opposed to the team, but the number of resources being asked for it. 

The team is being set up at a time when the county has seen an excess of 600 gang members, and more than 30 official gangs, who are actively trying to recruit young people.  

Sheriff Kimbrough explained that this is the perfect example of why JIIT is needed, with backing from the community. “That’s a lot of work for just a couple of people . . .” 

The team would be formed by July of 2021 and be funded through December of 2024.