Young people have something important to say. We learn more about them through conversation. For example – 3 officers met with 3 African American male students at the high school. Students asked questions and officers were able to offer explanations and let them know they were empathetic to the young men’s concerns.
The students left with a better understanding of what officers go through. In addition, the officers gained a better understanding of the young peoples’ perceptions. Everyone agreed at the end of the evening that honest and open communication can be extremely beneficial to the betterment of the relationship. Parents that observed were pleased with the interaction.
There are also visits by officers to the high school football practice, just to converse with the young men.
These types of exercises establish relationships. Research shows that through communication there is a correlative decline in allegations of bias based policing. Our Department understands that establishing these relationships and links in the community will allow us to become more successful and legitimized to our community as a police department.