Building relationships between young people and police can bring positive results for your city. Efforts in Massachusetts and in Denver help officers and youth see the other with fresh eyes. Officers can learn how to effectively interact with young people, and young people learn the difficulties of policing.
Stanley Pollack is the executive director of the Center for Teen Empowerment, which has worked with police-youth relations in several Massachusetts cities, including Somerville and Boston. One focus of Teen Empowerment is to equip young people with the skills and opportunities to lead culture change, including through teen-police dialogues. Pollack, author of Moving Beyond Icebreakers, has worked with youth for more than three decades.
CBS This Morning recently featured the Center for Teen Empowerment on their More Perfect Union series.
Gia Irlando is the community relations ombudsman for the Office of Independent Monitor in the City and County of Denver. The office provides civilian oversight of the Denver Police and Sheriff Departments. The OIM developed and launched Bridging the Gap: Kids and Cops™, a program designed to build skills in both youth and officers to improve their interactions on the street.