Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Young Adults, Faith Leadersas Resources to Build Relationships in the Community

Community policing encompasses all aspects and demographics of the community. Two demographics that Chief Bryan T. Norwood has tapped into as resources are Richmond’s young people and its faith leaders.

When Chief Norwood came to Richmond in November 2008, he brought the idea of having a group of young adults to serve as liaisons between the city high school population and Richmond Police. The Young Adult Police Commissioners was born out of that idea.

Since then there have been two classes of commissioners who have contributed to the community and community policing, from feeding the homeless to hosting a teen forum and talent shows. These teens are selected by their peers to serve as volunteer representatives of their schools, as well as their neighborhoods, for Richmond Police.

The third class of commissioners will be sworn in 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, at the Richmond Police Training Academy, 1202 W. Graham Road. This is the largest class since the group’s inception, with 28 new commissioners coming on board.

The Department also plans to combine the resources of the Young Adult Police Commissioners with its other valuable resource – the Richmond Police Faith Leaders Partnership. Together, the two groups serve as important voices for the community. They speak for those who are unwilling or unable to speak for themselves on issues involving law enforcement. They also serve as support groups for the demographics they represent – high school students and parishioners.

“With YAPC and the Faith Leaders, we are building a winning team in the ongoing push for public safety,” Chief Norwood said. “We need more residents like them.”