One America Community Efforts
Little Bar

Program: Task Force on Police and Urban Youth, U.S. Department of Justice's Community Relations Service, New England
Contact(s): Marty Walsh, Regional Director: (617) 424-5715
Purpose: To help address the strained relationship between police and urban youth and develop guidance for other communities

Background Program Operations Outcomes


The Task Force on Police and Urban Youth began in Massachusetts in December 1993 when the U.S. Justice Department's Community Relations Service (CRS) convened a meeting of police officials, youth advocacy agencies and academicians to address the considerable tension between police and minority youth throughout the state. In March 1994, a similar task force was established in Connecticut based on the success the program had in Massachusetts. Conferences have been held in both states to address the relationship between police and youth.

Program Operations

For the past several years, the CRS and the task force have convened meetings for police officers, youth leaders and school officials from major cities in New England to foster dialogue on race relations and youth. The youth represent the African American, Hispanic and Asian communities. For 1997 through spring 1998, the task force's themes are "Diversity, Civility, and Respect." Forums will be open to representatives of roughly 30 communities and will include workshops focused on issues such as promoting safer city streets and school corridors, racial conflict in schools, community policing, after-school programs and media and race relations. The workshops help identify "best practices" for local community and youth leaders to implement in their own communities. Local universities are also involved to provide assistance and research support.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

The U.S. Department of Justice has initiated a number of programs aimed at youth-focused community policing, based on results from the Task Force on Police and Urban Youth. Meetings will be held in Dallas, Baltimore and San Diego. Anecdotal information also suggests that the task forces may have played a part in helping to reduce overall crime levels in Boston and other New England cities.

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