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Lance Mehl retires from Belmont County Concentrated Conduct Adjustment Program

JUL 9, 2017

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Lance Mehl has retired from Belmont County’s Concentrated Conduct Adjustment Program after 20 years of working with the juvenile court system and helping countless young people get a better start in life.

Mehl worked with the CCAP program since 1996, coming from a career in the National Football League. The St. Clairsville resident was player with the New York Jets for eight seasons, including the Pro-Bowl. He credited then-Juvenile Court Judge Jack Malik for connecting him with the CCAP program after his retirement from football.

After about two years, he took on the role of CCAP director. He recalled the early days of the program and discussed how it has chanced over the years.

“When it started off, CCAP was a boot camp for kids. They just exercised all day long, five days a week in the summer and every Saturday during the school year,” he said. “What we found out is we were just making stronger delinquents. We weren’t changing how they thought or what they were doing in decision-making.”

Mehl reflected on the fundamental shift, helped by judges and related officials.

“We eventually shifted into what we have today, which is more talking to the youth, helping them to understand there’s so many decisions they have to make each day — making them more aware of what impact they could have on society and their families,”he said.

He noted the program became geared toward probationary functions.

“We would go and check up on them every week in school. We had curfews. We’d make sure they were home. We’d call them every night or show up at the home,” he said. “We started making them accountable for where they were. … We worked with the police departments. We got to know all the police. We told them who was on probation with us. We were on-call 24/7.”

Mehl said CCAP officials would work with the families of juveniles in the program to make them aware of available services or counseling.

“Obviously there’s things you can’t change. You can’t change what family they’re born into. That’s a big factor,” Mehl said. “We’ve had a lot of successes. I run into kids all the time still. They’re really happy. They’re doing well. But there’s kids that didn’t make it. They’re in jail. It’s just like any other program. You can only change so much. It’s frustrating.”

He also said the program was able to provide emotional support the children involved were otherwise lacking.

“Most of them didn’t have father figures. I was more like a father, and the males in the program and some of the females, they didn’t have that at home. That’s how we treated them. We treated them like we were their parents in some regards — the difference being we could lock them up if we had to,” he said.

He added that his athletic background was a source of interest to many of the participants.

“It was a big deal to some of them,” he said. “You make an impression on some of the kids. It opens doors. We got some of the kids playing sports in high school.”

He add that many of his male colleagues have similar qualities.

“We’ve had some pretty strong male role models that I’ve worked with over the years that did a really good job,” he said. “We gave them that role model that was lacking in their lives.”

He spoke about the family life of many of the CCAP participants.

“They’re lacking affection and attention, and by the time we get them as teenagers it’s hard to break through that. Show somebody that you care, but at the same time set boundaries, because they’ve had no boundaries growing up.”

He added that he credits his fellow CCAP members and the cooperation of Malik and later Judge Mark Costine, as well as the juvenile and probation officers, for the program’s success. Belmont County Juvenile and Probate Court Judge Mark Costine said Mehl’s service was invaluable.

“As the director and a probation officer, his outstanding communication skills, leadership and work ethic has had an impact on many juveniles and their families. Lance’s down to earth, outgoing personality has made him an excellent role model for delinquent and unruly youth. His ability to listen and connect with youth will be greatly missed,” Costine said. “The CCAP program has expanded and changed through the years. Mr. Mehl was an integral part in establish an outstanding community service program in cooperation with the JB Green Team and also the expansion of the Belmont County Juvenile Court Alternative School. Mr. Mehl has always supported program changes to ensure quality programming for the youth of Belmont County.”

There is no plan to replace Mehl as CCAP director. Noah Atkinson will continue to serve as program coordinator.

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4 hours ago, y2k8 said:

One of the most underrated Jets of all time.  Overshadowed by many of the 1980s big name NFL LBs, but definitely a quality player.  

Indeed. Steady Eddie type of player. Hard worker and passionate player who got the job done. Always one of my favorite Jets. 

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6 hours ago, IndianaJet said:

Dude would have never had to work a post NFL job if he was in the league now.

Think about that, could you imagine a pro-bowl NFL player taking on a regular 9-5 job for 20 years after retirement now?


A lot of these guys continue to work.  Need a purpose in life, and health insurance.  

Kevin Mawae is on Herm Edwards’ staff.  McCown is in broadcasting.  It is great that Lance Mehl was able to give back to society and his community.

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I think of those great players in the 80s like Wesley walker, one of my all time favorites, also works a regular job because he made nothing compared to what they make today, and he suffered the same bruises and physical abuse to his body as they do today, probably moreso. I remember somebody posted an article here how he is in pain these days from his playing days. It was a tough read. 

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