Newport News Sheriff working locally, nationally to help kids

Newport News Sheriff Gabe Morgan just joined the national leadership council of "Fight Crime: Invest in Kids."

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – A national organization is working to fight crime by investing in kids, and a local sheriff is now part of the team heading up that organization.

Sheriff Gabe Morgan has been involved with “Fight crime: Invest in Kids” since 2007.  But just this month, they created the leadership board that Morgan is now a part of.  He says this organization is a way to push the needle toward investing in kids while they are young, so crime doesn’t happen in the first place.

Helping kids is Sheriff Morgan’s passion, and something that hits close to home for him.  “It spoke to my heart,” he said.

The 5,000 member organization is made up of law enforcement officers across the country, as well as attorneys and violence survivors.  Their goal is to cut crime and put kids on a productive path.

With kids, that means early intervention and education.

“We’re not just about talking, we’re about doing,” Morgan said.  “If a child cannot read on level by the third grade, they’re more likely to commit a crime, drop out of high school.”

So in Newport News, Morgan is putting that into practice by partnering with McIntosh Elementary School, where his employees read with kids two days per week.

“It creates an environment in which the children get to interact with law enforcement and they recognize that we’re human beings,” Morgan said.

Helping the community comes with Morgan’s job title, but his focus on kids is personal.

“One of the communities that they used as a poster child of the war on poverty was mine, that’s to tell you that my experiences are probably the experiences of about 50% of the children in America,”  Morgan said.  “Because about 50% of children in America live in poverty.”

So when he’s spending time reading with those kids, he’s constantly motivated to make a change.

Morgan said, “I see myself in every single one of them.”