RESEARCH AND REPORTS
Social distance expands the gap between at-risk teens and police. Social distance scales have been used for almost one hundred years to measure the distance between groups nationally and internationally. The resounding conclusion is that as contact and familiarity increases, social distance decreases. Thus the more time at-risk teens spend with police officers in a community policing atmosphere, such as TAPS Academy, social distance will decrease, effectively elevating trust, support and assistance to law enforcement agencies in the future.
Consistently youth, and more specifically at-risk teens, exhibit the least “trust” of law enforcement and the criminal justice system as a whole. This lack of trust stems from involuntary and voluntary police contacts, family socialization, vicarious experiences, historical use of the criminal justice system against minority groups, examples of unwarranted physical and deadly force, slower response times, irrelevant stops and profiling. These researched conclusions create dissatisfaction, social distance, and apathy.
TAPS Academy is a research-based mentoring program that reduces social distance and builds community.
"Youths who participated in the TAPS Academy showed significant improvement in measures of social distance, with certain subgroups (such as Hispanic/Latino and male youths) reporting more favorable perceptions of police.”
- 2018 (OJJDP) Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
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