St. Petersburg Police Press Release

Chief of Police
1301 First Avenue North
St. Petersburg, FL 33705
(727) 893-7550


For Immediate Release
Report number: 2024-
Date of original release: 05-31-24

NFL Renews Grant for the Gulf Coast JFCS and St. Petersburg Police Department CALL Program

Release posted on 05-31-24 at 11:05 a.m.

As part of the NFL's Inspire Change social justice initiative, Gulf Coast JFCS was one of 10 social justice programs nationwide, awarded a grant renewal for its work to enact positive change in the community. The new two-year grant of $450,000, will be used to expand youth services in the Community Assistance and Life Liaison (CALL) program.

"In partnership with Gulf Coast JFCS, the St. Petersburg Police Department continues its impactful and accountable approach to public safety with the CALL program. An enhanced effort with youth will only increase CALL's impact in our community. Last year, CALL reached 10,000 contacts, illustrating its effective and community-centric approach to policing by directing certain non-violent calls to social workers," said Kenneth T. Welch, Mayor of St. Petersburg.

With the original 2023 NFL grant of $200,000, Gulf Coast JFCS created a YES (Youth Engagement Specialist) position within the CALL program to help prevent youth involvement with police. As a result, nearly 500 youth contacts have been diverted from law enforcement.

Here are the goals of the new grant renewal:

  1. Reduce and/or prevent first-time youth involvement with police by building upon partnerships and activities initiated with the Youth Engagement Specialist position.
  2. Expand proactive engagement, conducting three activities a quarter, to actively engage youth and their families residing in high crime, disadvantaged, and disenfranchised communities in St. Petersburg.

"We are so proud to continue our partnership with the St. Petersburg Police Department and further strengthen our efforts with St. Pete youth. The CALL Program has made a significant and positive difference in the community, and we continue to nationally share the model as a best new and innovative practice," said Dr. Sandra E. Braham, Gulf Coast JFCS President and CEO.

"We thank the NFL for its assistance to expand CALL's reach to include much-needed services for teens in our community to prevent and de-escalate negative interactions with police," said Anthony Holloway, St. Petersburg Chief of Police.

Read more about the NFL Grant

CALL program background: Through the CALL program, trained social workers and mental health professionals proactively respond to nonviolent and noncriminal 911 calls that primarily involve mental health, substance use, economic hardship, or youth. CALL navigators and clinicians respond daily, including weekends and holidays, from 8:00 am to 2:00 am. Since its inception, CALL has completed more than 12,126 client contacts, serving 5,213 individuals, youth, and families.

For more information, contact:
Hana Cowart, Gulf Coast JFCS Communications Manager

St. Petersburg Police Media Relations - (727) 893-7550
YOLANDA FERNANDEZ - Public Information Officer