Posted on March 10, 2017

Teens and Columbus Police Engage in Dialogue

As the leading youth-development program in the city, Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus has the unique opportunity to unite populations that can feel unfamiliar to youth.

Interactions between law enforcement and civilians has been a recent topic of concern across the nation, and Columbus has been no exception to rising tensions. Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus recognized the need for a respectful and open discourse and felt responsibility to take initiative. As a result, our first Youth-Led Dialogue was held this week in conjunction with Columbus Division of Police.

The event hosted 36 Boys & Girls Clubs members and 30 law enforcement officials to discuss challenges that youth face in the community through a panel and smaller breakout groups at our Milo-Grogan Club. Participants had the opportunity to share interpretations of an ideal community and offer action steps to build constructive and positive relationships. We were thrilled to welcome Chief of Police Kim Jacobs, Deputy Chief Tom Quinlan, and Officer Rashawn Sykes to our panel.

Many of our teens echoed the shared vision that communities should symbolize diversity, acceptance, unity, communication, and nonviolence. Teen member Stacey reflected, “I wish officers would have more positive interactions with us, instead of just coming when there’s crime.” Hosting this event in a space where teens feel respected and comfortable is essential in fostering a stronger relationship and allowed individuals like Stacey to communicate openly.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus and Columbus Division of Police are looking forward to sharing more conversations to facilitate positive interactions. This event was the first step of a process to work towards a brighter future for youth across the city.