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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
As a parent and a law enforcement professional, I am very interested in all issues related to the safety and well-being of our nation’s children. And I am proud to say that since our founding in 1995, the COPS Office has been dedicated to supporting programs designed not only to protect our young people from harm, but to help them make the most of their potential
For this reason, the COPS Office has supported numerous youth programs of varying types, including sports camps, arts and theater workshops, academic tutoring, fitness programs, and reading groups. We also provide grant funding and other resources for programs tailored to the interests of tribal youth and law enforcement, such as the Indian Youth Explorer’s Police Academy for the Nez Perce tribe in Idaho.
But as varied as such programs are, they all have the same goals: to build relationships of mutual trust and understanding, and to help young people resist negative peer pressure, take responsibility for their actions, build moral resilience, and cope with the challenges they face. To get an idea of the variety and scope of these activities, please see the article Police Youth Programs: Much More than Fun and Games in this issue of the Dispatch. .
In addition to supporting these programs, we offer 19 resources focused on building positive relationships between young people and law enforcement. Among them are the Police-Youth Dialogues Toolkit, a hands-on guide to facilitating productive communication, and 10 companion publications containing dialogue prompts, facilitators’ worksheets, and similar materials.
Other useful COPS Office resources include Creative Partnerships: Supporting Youth, Building Communities and Vital Partners: Mayors and Police Chiefs Working Together for America's Children and Youth. Another resource, developed for Native law enforcement, is Tribal Youth Leadership, a training guide for equipping American Indian youth with the leadership skills necessary to address the public safety problems in tribal communities.
We have heard from many sources that these programs have been instrumental in changing young lives, and that quite a few have not only gotten onto the right track, but stayed on it. We have also heard that the COPS Office publications have been very helpful to law enforcement professionals in their efforts to improve their relationships with local young people.
But we know that there is still much more that can be done, and welcome all who work with young people and have ideas for innovative programs to apply for COPS Office grant funding. Our nation’s children and their communities need and deserve this kind of support and encouragement.
– Director Keith
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