Seattle Police participates in numerous opportunities to continually build their connection with young people with programs and services. Senior commanders also serve on the Mayor’s Youth Commission to meet with young leaders and discuss police programs and policies.
Role reversals/Youth dialogues
This brings Seattle Police officers, community and business members and youth, specifically homeless street kids, together and engage them in a dialogue. Together, they have an open and honest discussion about pre-conceived notions of each other and an opportunity to explain civility laws and discuss ways to build relationships based on mutual trust and understanding.
Police Explorers is a program to bridge the gap between youth and police by education that involves them in police operations as well as interests them in law enforcement as a career. The program is open to youth between 13 and 21 years old. Their participation includes projects such as doing security work at community events, directing traffic at events and helping with crime prevention programs. Participants go through a six-month training course, and are expected to devote a one-year commitment to the program.
Youth Police ACADEMY
Modeled after the Community Police Academy for adults, this is a 10-week course designed to educate teens about the role of police officers and the operations of the Seattle Police Department. The course also gives officers a chance to receive feedback from youth and vice-versa that builds respect and a better understanding for each other.
City of Seattle departments including Seattle Police, community leaders, school principals, leaders of faith-based community, and others were brought together by the Mayor’s Office in 2008 to develop a new approach in preventing youth and gang-related violence because five teenagers had been fatally shot. Thus, the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (SYVPI) was developed. SYVPI identifies and assists young people who are at vulnerable points in their lives. SYVPI helps youth with repeat offenses re-enter society from state and county detention programs, provides alternatives for youth who arrested for crimes, but released because they don’t meet the admission criteria for county detention, help middle-school truants and students at risk of suspension stay in school and succeed, and prevent victims of violence and their friends and relatives from continuing the cycle of violence through retaliation. To support the efforts of SYVPI, the department offers the following services:
- School Emphasis Officers (SEOs) to focus on violence prevention and prevention inside Seattle Public elementary schools, middle schools and a high school. SEOs focus on gang resistance education and training, truancy and suspension reduction.
- Seattle Police Officers provide security and a safe haven at the late night hour programs at Seattle Park community and recreational centers. By having the presence, interaction and participation of officers at these centers, the hope is to build trust and reduce fear youth may have toward officers.