Coun­cil­man Brown re­veal new youth pro­gram

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - FRONT PAGE - By John Glid­den jglid­[email protected]­al­don­ @glid24 on Twitter

In an at­tempt to im­prove com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the Vallejo’s youth and police, the de­part­ment and Vallejo Coun­cil­man Ha­keem Brown un­veiled a new youth out­reach ini­tia­tive, mod­eled after the Den­ver Police De­part­ment’s suc­cess­ful youth pro­gram.

Also part­ner­ing with the Vallejo City Uni­fied School District, police will host fo­rums be­tween of­fi­cers and youth “to en­sure fu­ture en­coun­ters re­sult in less trauma, less dis­trust, and less es­ca­la­tion to­ward vi­o­lence,” ac­cord­ing to a VPD press re­lease.

“This is a pro­gram that Richard Fisher and I cre­ated mod­eled on a Den­ver pro­gram to help our youth un­der­stand their con­sti­tu­tional rights when they come in con­tact with our of­fi­cers, ed­u­cate our of­fi­cers on ado­les­cent de­vel­op­ment, de-es­ca­la­tion tech­niques, and how police be­hav­iors and ac­tions im­pact the re­sponse of a youth,” Brown wrote on his Face­book page an­nounc­ing the new pro­gram.

Of­fi­cers will re­ceive train­ing from cur­ricu­lum ob­tained from the Con­necti­cut Ju­ve­nile Jus­tice Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee, of­fi­cials said in the same news re­lease.

“The cur­ricu­lum fo­cuses on how ado­les­cents think, the lens through which they may see the world, and how that may shape the way they act when ap­proached by the police,” they ex­plained.

Den­ver police will pro­vide a three-day’ train-the-trainer’ for at least 10 Vallejo police of­fi­cers,

and mem­bers from BART and Oak­land police de­part­ments, act­ing Vallejo Police Capt. Ja­son Potts con­firmed in a sep­a­rate in­ter­view with the TimesHer­ald.

He said 50 youths are ex­pected to par­tic­i­pate in the pro­gram.

“Our of­fi­cers are look­ing for­ward to en­gag­ing with our youth. Those non-en­force­ment con­tacts are in­valu­able to in­creas­ing trust and un­der­stand­ing,” Potts added. “We are con­fi­dent it will be achieved.”

Ac­cord­ing to Den­ver’s Of­fice of the In­de­pen­dent Mon­i­tor, 631 youth and 38 Den­ver police of­fi­cers par­tic­i­pated in the pro­gram in 2018, which be­gan as a pilot pro­gram in 2015.

“This lack of trust means that youth are of­ten scared of and un­will­ing to co­op­er­ate with police, caus­ing many police con­tacts, how­ever mi­nor, to es­ca­late into con­fronta­tions or ar­rests due to mis­un­der­stand­ings and fear be­tween young peo­ple and police of­fi­cers,” a re­port from the Den­ver’s Of­fice of the In­de­pen­dent Mon­i­tor reads.

Par­tic­i­pants in Vallejo’s pro­gram are ex­pected to ex­plore the role of trauma in their lives and “learn tools to more ef­fec­tively man­age that trauma,” the same VPD news re­lease states.

“Fa­cil­i­ta­tors also in­tend to pro­vide par­tic­i­pants with a space to gain em­pa­thy and self aware­ness through the con­text of youth and of­fi­cer ex­pe­ri­ences,” it says. “The goal is to im­prove out­comes by equip­ping par­tic­i­pants with tools to en­sure fu­ture en­coun­ters re­sult in less trauma, less dis­trust, and less es­ca­la­tion to­wards vi­o­lence.”

Brown said in a state­ment to the Times-Her­ald that he will con­tinue to make pos­i­tive changes in the city of Vallejo.

“As a fa­ther, noth­ing is more im­por­tant to me than keep­ing our schools and young peo­ple safe,” Brown said. “I am en­cour­aged that our new Chief of Police rec­og­nizes that gang and drug preven­tion pro­grams and a more ef­fec­tive, com­mu­nity and con­stituent­based ap­proach is im­por­tant to the Vallejo com­mu­nity. I couldn’t be more pleased that my vi­sion for a strong youth and com­mu­nity polic­ing model is be­ing launched.”

A com­mu­nity meet­ing is sched­uled from 5:30 to 7 p.m., March 20, in­side the Vallejo Room, lo­cated on the 1st Floor of the John F. Kennedy Public Li­brary, 505 Santa Clara St.

All in­ter­ested com­mu­nity mem­bers are en­cour­aged to at­tend.


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