The Youth & Police Initiative (YPI) increases communication and improves the relationship between youth and police. The program brings enormous benefits to the community, reduces crime, and helps youth develop positive attitudes towards police and their communities.
The goal of YPI is to break the cycle of mutual distrust that commonly exists between youth and police in our community by helping youth to be authentic, honest and open in presenting their “stories,” as they inspire the police to respond in a mutual way. The reciprocal sharing of life experiences, as well as goals and dreams, humanizes their relationships and shows them how much they have in common. The shared parts of their lives become the foundation of a new trust.
In order to accomplish this goal, YPI sessions are held throughout the City of Spokane. Each YPI session is 5 days in length, and is geographically matched with participating youth. The first 3 days are taught by two Spokane Police Instructors that focus on breaking down barriers and stereotypes of youth and police. The last two days build relationships between the youth and six additional officers who patrol that particular neighborhood, and to whom the youth present their “stories”, as well as a graduation ceremony. YPI youth receive dinner each night and an $80 stipend upon graduation of the program.
As of January 2016, we have held a total of 18 sessions to include each Spokane Public School High School and three community centers/buildings. This program has graduated 223 youth and connected them to 92 different police officers.