Arlington, TX: A Community Policing Story Arlington, TX - A Community Policing Story - Page 18

Our police department collaborated with multiple institutions—such as the school district, judge’s office, and business leaders—and began to develop a core curriculum for a 12-month cycle where officers, educators, professionals, and many others would come together to mentor young men in junior high school. The program, launched in July 2015, provides leadership, team building, education, and career development to primarily African-American and Hispanic male students in the seventh and eighth grades, supporting them in everything— from preparing for college, to learning how to properly tie a tie, to interacting with the police. Q: What inspired the creation of the Coach 5-0 program? Coach 5-0 was created by Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson and former Arlington Indepen- dent School District Athletic Director Kevin Ozee following a local tragedy, where Carl Wilson—a promising 18-year-old football player at Martin High School—was shot and killed on January 12, 2015. This program is designed to be a show of partnership between coaches and the police department, where officers are paired with athletic teams at different I lost my father at a young age, so . . . schools to build relationships with students. The idea is for officers to come this program ensures that father figure out of their uniforms—to be present at student athletic events, lift weights with [in] your life, someone that you can talk athletes, and encourage students in their natural environment—in order to build to every day, someone that’s gonna trust with young people. “ work out next to you, run with you— it’s an amazing chance.” — Christian Coach 5-0 youth participant Similar to the MAY Program, Coach 5-0 is designed to show young people that police officers are here to support them and that we’re a part of the community; however, the Coach 5-0 program focuses on high school athletes, as opposed to the MAY Program, which focuses on at- risk youth in junior high school. Q: What were some of the challenges you encountered? In many minority communities, a primary challenge is that people do not trust the police. This mistrust can originate from one person having a negative experience or from secondary generational trauma. As such, minority communities can be very suspicious of the police and want to understand why we, as officers who would normally choose enforcement action if their child broke the law, want to mentor their youth instead. We assured parents that we would be there as active members of the community to support their child, whether he or she is doing something good or something bad, regardless of the circumstances.  10 Arlington, TX: A Community Policing Story