The Youth Police Initiative (YPI) is a two-week dynamic program that positively impacts the relationships and interactions between police officers and inner city youth.
The youth and police train together and participate in facilitated discussions, team-building exercises, and reality-based scenario trainings. From these experiences, youth and police develop lasting relationships that foster a deeper understanding between the two groups.
YPI has successfully built bridges between local police officers and teenage boys living in public housing. These nine teens that could be considered “at risk” were able to see themselves as equals with seasoned police officers. Both groups broke barriers by presenting honest and heartfelt testimonies on their life choices. Some found common ground among the group while others realized they still have time to make better choices in order to achieve their goals. Each session was ended by participants stating something they have learned, or something that has impacted them from the discussion. A sense of community and pride has been cultivated among the group.
Many of the teens have expressed ideas on how to improve their community and make it a safer place for families to live. Ultimately, the program seeks to reduce youth violence, gang involvement and tension between teens and police by opening the gates of communication.