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The history of Youth & Police Building Bridges Program

Community Building in Washington Heights & Inwood

In 2015, the Community Partner Program was implemented in the City of New York by the Police Department as an effort to cultivate and establish trust between the police and the communities they serve. According to the police department, many newly assigned police officers have little understanding of residents or entrepreneurs in the area. There are also times where police officers do not understand the problems neighborhood residents rely on them to address. The NYPD believes its community program is an important step in helping police officers recognize the importance of strong relationships with their community, and the value for understanding community concerns regarding crime and quality of life.

In the spring of 2015, as part of the NYPD’s community outreach initiative, the Community Partner Program was introduced to the Washington Heights/Inwood community by then Chief James O’Neill, presently NYPD’s Commissioner. Many community leaders and activists were invited to this event. Among them was Chair of the CB12M’s Youth and Education Committee (Y&EC), Fe Florimon. Fe also serves as President and appointee to the D6-Community Education Council (CEC6) and saw an opportunity for young people and police officers to cultivate and improve their relationships.

By the summer of 2015, under the direction and leadership of Chair Florimon, both committees embarked in a series of community awareness discussions with students, parents and the general community about the new NYPD Community Partner Program and the need for support. A year later on June 18, 2016, both committees, in partnership with the George Washington Educational Campus (GWEC) and several NYC Police Departments (34th, 33rd and 30th Precincts and Community Affairs Bureau) launched their first initiative called, “Youth and Police Partnership Walk and Resource Fair, in support of Youth and Police Building Bridges.” This initiative aims to bring together community members as a unified voice to promote and support the following:

  • Youth and Police Building Bridges

  • NYPD Community Partner Program

  • Awareness of community resources

The event consisted of two parts. The first represents a symbolic march to signify the improvement of community relations with law enforcement and desired trust. The second part consists of awareness of available community resources for youth and families. The initiative received overwhelming support from the community, city agencies, non-for-profit originations and elected officials. Over 300 participants joined this event last year, and as a result, the community suggested this initiative be held every year. The committees and its partners are presently in the planning process for the second “Youth and Police Partnership Walk and Resource Fair” which was held on Saturday, May 20, 2017.

Furthermore, along with this initiative, the CB12M-Youth and Education Committee and D6-Community Education and stakeholders (general community) believe the visit of Police Officers in school classrooms would be an opportunity (under the Principals’ discretion) for students to interact with Police Officers and to ask questions (e.g. law enforcement career, etc). The committees hope the DOE will take into consideration this important step towards the improvement of the NYPD and community relations by allowing and promoting these important initiatives in public schools.

Click here to learn more about the program.

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