YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts’ YW Boston’s Youth/Police Dialogues is a nationally recognized program developed by the YW Boston, to provide a safe, structured way for young people and police officers to come together, speak openly and build trust and community.
Broken trust between police and residents decreases community safety and can have devastating consequences. Despite a shared goal of safer neighborhoods, improving police community relations remains challenging, particularly for communities of color that have suffered consequences of this mistrust for generations. Youth/Police Dialogues is an effective approach to a nationwide issue.
Youth/Police Dialogues engage young people age 13-20 and police supports them to be invested and active change agents in their community for the long term. Over the course of six dialogue sessions trained facilitators lead a group of youth and police officers in voicing and addressing negative experiences and stereotypes and exploring how youth-police relationships affect community safety.
Over the course of six dialogues sessions, our highly trained facilitators lead a group of youth and officers in:
- Voicing and addressing negative experiences and stereotypes.
- Exploring how youth-police relationships affect community safety.
- Building more trusting personal relationships.
Our Youth/Police Dialogues illuminates barriers between the youth and the officers and encourages them to work together to brainstorm solutions. The six session curriculum covers topics critical to rebuilding positive relations, including stereotypes youth and police have of each other and the “stop snitching” culture and how to change it. The dialogues are highly interactive and structured to increase trust and build relationships, using group-generated agreements, and 1 on 1 conversation.
Through the Youth/Police Dialogues, conflict between youth and police is reduced as understanding trust, and cooperation increase.
Youth that participate in the Dialogues series report:
- Increased comfort in talking to police.
- Increased sense of safety having police in their neighborhood.
- Greater willingness to report a crime.
Police officers that participate in the dialogue series report:
- Increased /consciousness of racial dynamics.
- Greater effort to interact with youth outside of conflict settings.
- Incorporate learning from the series into their policing.
For more information about the program, to become a facilitator or to schedule a dialogue for your group please contact Pam Pollock, Youth/Police Dialogue Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
This program is funded in part by United Way of Greater New Bedford South End Engaged and by a gift from the Island Foundation.