EPS officers building positive relationships with youth from emerging communities
EDMONTON - Edmonton Police Service officers are connecting directly with youth from Edmonton’s emerging communities this week through the Police and Youth Engagement Program (PYEP).
The program gives youth and police officers a unique chance to communicate one-on-one, build positive relationships, and learn from each other.
"PYEP aims to bring police and youth together, remove misconceptions on both sides, build trust, and create a safe space where dialogue can occur,” says Timoro Mohamed, PYEP Program Coordinator.
PYEP allows youth to become ambassadors within their own respective communities and also expands police knowledge about certain ethno-cultural communities and the issues that affect them. This is crucial for youth from war-torn countries such as Iraq and Syria who may have trouble connecting with community and police in Edmonton.
“It allows youth to foster positive relationships that can overcome previously held negative opinions about police and their role in the community,” says Mohamed. “As a previous participant, and a person from one of the ethno-cultural communities, my experience has given me a greater understanding of the importance of discourse and positive interactions between youth and the EPS.”
In its third year, PYEP has shown that cultivating positive relationships between youth and police is a successful tactic for keeping youth engaged and away from crime.
“We believe this relationship of trust will carry on in the future and inspire youth to build stronger and safer communities,” says Deputy Chief Brian Simpson. “We want youth to be excited and empowered to make positive changes in their lives, their communities, and their futures.”
PYEP is a community-led initiative that is supported by the Edmonton Police Service, Edmonton Police Foundation, City of Edmonton, and is coordinated by REACH Edmonton. The program is offered free of charge to youth leaders selected by Tembo Edmonton.
Over the course of the five-day program, youth will examine community policing issues within a cultural safety framework and be active in finding solutions. Approximately 43 youth ages 14 to 17 years are participating in PYEP from Aug. 8 to 12, 2016. The youth come from the local Syrian, Iraqi, Eritrean, Ethiopian, Sudanese, Oromo, and Somali communities.
Media are invited to attend PYEP to see first-hand the effect the program is having on local youth:
• Obstacle Course
Friday, Aug. 12, 2016 – EPS Headquarters, Gymnasium (9620 – 103A Avenue)
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
• Closing Ceremony
Friday, Aug. 12, 2016 – Rundle Park Family Centre (2909 – 113 Ave)
6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
For more information, or to participate in one of the media availabilities, please contact Marilyn Gray at 587-991-3142 or Marilyn.Gray@reachedmonton.ca.