Arlington, TX: A Community Policing Story Arlington, TX - A Community Policing Story - Page 20

Q: Do you have any advice for departments creating mentoring or trust-building programs? First, police departments and communities must believe that public safety is a coproduction: Any community program should be a byproduct of the police department and community stakeholders working together. And the greatest investment a community and its police department can make is in youth. Community-oriented policing efforts should be strategic and long-term, and you need to consider the fact that 20 years from now youth will be your citizens. The impact you make on youth today will determine their relationship with the police as they move into adulthood. Youth mentoring among vulnerable populations creates a preemptive approach to addressing generational cycles of poverty, education, and mass incarceration. Youth are more likely to go to college rather than commit a crime because they had a mentor in their life. Second, when you’re creating a mentoring program, you should understand that it is important for it to be not only evidence based but also tailored to the demographics you will be serving. You should also understand that there’s a meaningful difference between spending time with individuals and investing in them: An investment is becoming a part of their lives. More than just an activity, mentoring is a relationship that is built to be sustainable over time. Third, you should remember to make an effort to document your success stories and share them with the public because transparency is a key ingredient in building community trust. Policing is const antly evolving, and the public wants more transparency to know what its police department is doing. Creating community-engagement programs, using social media platforms, writing editorials, and soliciting feedback allow the public to become an active participant in the public safety process. “ I want [my son] to be able to approach a police officer and not be afraid, or have a police officer approach him and not be afraid.” — Lisa Dagley Mother of MAY Program youth participant 12 Arlington, TX: A Community Policing Story