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Mobile Police Academy Launches Community Engagement Program

April 19, 2017

Mobile, Ala.--For the first time in Mobile Police Department (MPD) history, all cadets in the police academy will create relationships with the community as part of their training. In addition to learning defense tactics and emergency vehicle operations, cadets will be engaging with youth and seniors through a variety of activities.

"This is an opportunity for our cadets to engage with citizens while learning to protect and serve," said Mayor Stimpson. "By including community engagement in the recruits' initial training, both the cadets and the citizens begin to see each other from different perspectives. Citizens learn who the men and women are behind the uniform, and the cadets begin to better understand the citizens they are called to serve. Making these connections in the community early on will help transform the relationship between the police force and our neighborhoods."

As part of the pilot program, cadets served in the community centers during the Mobile County Public School's spring break last week.

"We need to provide our most vulnerable youth access to a safe, productive enrichment that offers recreational and athletic programs-especially during long periods of time when they are out of school like spring break," said Mayor Stimpson.

Upon arrival, the recruits played kickball, dodgeball, basketball, musical chairs and board games with the youth. MPD also participated in a training exercise with the Mobile Fire-Rescue Department to demonstrate to the youth how to operate the emergency equipment and vehicles. The students also had the opportunity to interact with the dogs from the K-9 unit and the horses from the mounted unit.

Moving forward, future police academy classes will participate in activities such as serving meals, delivering gifts and visiting senior centers in addition to their participation in the community centers.

Through the Youth Empowered for Success (YES) initiative, MPD collaborated with the Innovation Team and the Parks and Recreation Department to ensure each community center had daily activities during spring break. The daily activities varied within each community center but each center provided a recreational and an enrichment component. This interagency partnership was so successful that community engagement will now be an official part of cadet training for every MPD recruit class moving forward.

To learn more about the Mobile Police Academy Community Engagement Program, watch this video on the new program.