With all of the disturbing news we hear about so often concerning police/community relations, it was extremely heartening to read the article “Lewiston police chief credits youth outreach for lower crime rate” in the Sun Journal (Oct. 24).
I am grateful that Police Chief Brian O’Malley engaged our organization, Strategies for Youth, to provide the training for police officers that helped to bring about these positive changes in partnership with youth-serving community based organizations in Lewiston.
Across the country, as Strategies for Youth offers a two-day Policing the Teen Brain training to police departments, we can report similar results: police officers express gratitude for the opportunity to learn and understand more about adolescent development and for the chance to practice strategies for keeping interactions with youth safe, peaceful and orderly.
When this approach to policing is endorsed by leadership and practiced by law enforcement in partnership with great youth groups, such as Tree State, The Root, Boys and Girls Clubs, everyone wins. Communities are safer, youth are less inclined to challenge police authority or break the law and arrests and crime decline.
Lewiston is becoming a model of what we hope to accomplish across the country. We are grateful and proud to work with Chief O’Malley and the Lewiston community in their efforts to increase public safety and create more opportunities for youth.
Lisa Thurau, founder, executive director, Strategies for Youth, Cambridge, Massachusetts