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Brooklyn Students, NYPD Work Together on Their Neighborhoods

Wednesday 17th of July 2019 | North America, United States
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange
News

NEW YORK — Dana Rachlin and other activists around juvenile justice have been waiting a long time for the city to limit police involvement in the schools.

Last month the city announced New York Police Department school safety agents will no longer issue a summons or arrest for low-level offenses like disorderly conduct, spitting, graffiti or marijuana possession.

Since 2015, Rachlin has been working to connect high school students with police officers through the organization she founded, NYC Together. Expanding on previous NYPD initiatives, including the Juvenile Robbery Intervention Program, which was criticized for not stopping robberies, Rachlin aimed to create communities that were both safe and fair.

 “The premise was wonderful but it was missing some pieces,” said Rachlin, referring to the Juvenile Robbery Intervention Program, but “now the [NYPD] is in a great place because of education and training.”

That training goes beyond just tactical instruction, including implicit bias, racial and LGBTQ sensitivity and crisis intervention, she said. The NYPD has let officers know they can be in a supportive role by starting neighborhood policing initiatives and ending the stop and frisk program, she said.

NYC Together pairs students having issues in school with a police officer for a year. When schools identify students who are habitually late, chronically absent or have failing grades, NYC Together tells them they are now in a leadership position to serve as liaisons between their community and local law enforcement. The kids are usually eager to let a cop know what’s on their mind, Rachlin said. It’s also critical that the students are not seen as informants in the eyes of their peers, but rather as liaisons to the community.

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