Local Police, At-Risk Minority Youth Meet to Build Better Relations
How do police reduce the number of arrests of African-American and Latino youths, and increase safety for all? From another perspective, how do young African-Americans and Latinos avoid legal run-ins that could become life-long baggage?
About 100 police officers, youths, court officials, juvenile probation and community leaders will discuss these topics and possible strategies as they gather on Friday, June 8, at Duquesne University for Pittsburgh's first such all-day forum.
The forum's curriculum, developed by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency and the MacArthur Foundation, has been lauded by the state Senate Judiciary Committee and the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice.
Pittsburgh Police Chief Nathan Harper has requested that the curriculum be used to train all new Pittsburgh police recruits. Police and probation officers, public defenders, assistant district attorneys, church and community leaders will be involved, as well as representatives from Duquesne's public safety department and sociology students.
The Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC), a subcommittee of the Pennsylvania Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Committee, a state advisory group, has been instrumental in the initiative, helping to launch similar training in Philadelphia, Lancaster and elsewhere across the state.
"The DMC group is a very, very positive force in the community," said Dr. Charles Hanna, associate professor of sociology and a volunteer who offers tutoring and mentoring to young men on probation in Pittsburgh through the Community Intensive Supervision Probation Program. "These are really good folks who care about the community and activities that are occurring."