Increase in serious incidents at youth facility has University Heights officials concerned  


UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS - The Fox 8 I-Team obtained exclusive video that shows police called to a wild scene inside a facility for troubled teens earlier this month.

Just one of many calls police have responded to at Bellefaire JCB in the past few months.

“We are very concerned,” said Mike Astrab, University Heights Prosecutor.

On May 5, an employee at Bellefaire JCB called 911 saying some of the juvenile clients were attacking staff.

“They are trying to steal keys, it's just the clients they are rioting.,” the employee told the 911 dispatcher. “ We had somebody AWOL too, we just had someone break out. “

Body camera video shows University Heights officers responding to the facility.

According to reports, some Bellefaire employees were assaulted and three juvenile clients left after allegedly taking keys and badges from staff. All three were later located.

This past weekend an employee called police saying a male client was choking a female client, and she was having difficulty breathing.

The I-Team found that since January, University Heights police filed 26 incident reports, that is more than doubles the incident reports the department dealt with at Bellefaire during the same time period last year.

“We noticed a spike,” Astrab said. “ As a result we opened up a dialogue with Bellefaire to try and figure out what we can do to fix this problem. Those kids there, and there are a lot of them, are residents of University Heights, It is my duty and the police department’s duty to protect those kids.”

Bellefaire officials released this statement.

“Bellefaire works with youth who often come to us from very difficult backgrounds, many dealing with trauma and mental illness. We work hard to provide a safe, nurturing environment for the clients in our care. Our staff undergo extensive and ongoing training to ensure the best therapeutic outcome for these youth. We continue to evaluate our procedures to identify areas of improvement while ensuring the best therapeutic environment for the children in our care. In fact, as we too are concerned about the increased need to serve more and more difficult children, we are building a new facility that will be constructed and staffed in a manner that should lessen the need for assistance from local law enforcement.”

“We want to bring the number of serious incident reports down as soon as possible,” Astrab said.