A Note From Dr. Penn
The Teen And Police Service Academy represents a new chapter of community policing. By creating partnerships with at-risk teens and police, this union can proactively address some of the most pressing conditions in the community.
TAPS Academy places at-risk teens on equal footing with police, in order to exchange ideas and learn from each other. The program brings together the best of community policing along with lessons learned from DARE, G.R.E.A.T., Citizens Police Academy, Explorers, and other school/community-based initiatives to move to the next phase of community policing; actively engaging one of the least participatory groups in the community; at-risk teens.
It is awe inspiring to see at-risk teens and police working together to understand why crime occurs and most importantly, what to do about it. Tapping into this resource creates a synergistic outcome that moves the discussion past “us” verses “them”, so that police are seen as assets to the community and youth move from bring at-risk to at-promise.
TAPS Academy is research based and operates with a goal to change the way teens think about police, as well as how police think about at-risk teens. Misunderstandings come from the lack of communication and interaction. TAPS allows for greater understanding and the opportunity for both groups to act upon their new understandings.
From the Assistant Chief's (Ret.) Corner
In my 30 years of law enforcement, I have found that our relationship with the community sets the tone for effective policing. Community/Police relationships form the foundation that allows us to work cooperatively to effectively fight crime and keep our city safe.
This holds true especially as it involves our relationship with at-risk teens. We want to keep those lines of trust and communication open with our young students and keep them pointed in the right direction, so they can make good decisions.
The Teen and Police Service Academy places both groups (at-risk teens and police mentors) on equal footing in order to exchange ideas and learn from one another with the hope that we can close the social distance between the two groups.