Youth engagement in community policing is a program proposed by law enforcement practitioners as part of a task force created in 2014 by President Barack Obama. This program is aimed at the joint work of the police and young people in order to reduce the criminal situation in the country, improve social security and strengthen the trust relationship between law enforcement agencies and young people. This program is quite adequate, as it includes adult mentors, as well as members of the police who seek to help young people reduce problematic behavior and achieve social competence. Although this program has many advantages, it also has some disadvantages.
The first advantage of this program is the reduction in the level of juvenile delinquency. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (2018) claims that thanks to the involvement of young people in helping the police, the crime rate has decreased by 65% since 1996. Young people involved in law enforcement change their opinions about crime and influence their peers who have not realized how positively life under the law can develop.
Another advantage of this program is that the police have the opportunity to interact with young people. This will allow law enforcement officers to prove that they are reliable defenders for young people, role models, and not enemies. Stern (2019) states that police officers can be a real example for many young people, but they need to show that they are willing to help, that they can become partners, and in some cases, reliable comrades. Additionally, young people will be able to feel an essential and integral part of society, which will have a positive impact on their behavior.
As for the disadvantages, the main thing is that not all young people are ready to cooperate with the police. In this case, their opinion about the perception of police officers plays a significant role since some young people still do not see members of law enforcement agencies as worthy mentors and defenders. The more young people see the police and their actions, the more favorably they begin to perceive it (O’Leary, 2019). Police officers should establish relationships first with at least a small group of teenagers who can encourage their friends to cooperate with the police.
Describing the drawbacks can be highlighted the point that logic, intelligence, and other similar characteristics are very different in young and adults. In a situation where an adult could rely on his life experience and knowledge, behave correctly and correct the case, a teenager can react sharply and impulsively, which will only aggravate this situation. Toro et al. (2019) claim that some studies show a negative impact on society of police-youth interaction. The best solution here can be a respectful attitude of police officers to young people, help them in solving such situations, and a friendly attitude.
In conclusion, despite all the drawbacks, the interaction of the police and underage youth can bring positive changes to society and strengthen its security. If to focus on a group of young people who are characterized by deviant behavior, and enter into a trusting relationship with them, then this will positively impact the life of society in the present time and in its future. Adults should pay attention to the psychological features of the behavior of young people and involve them in the protection of law and order using psychological techniques.
International Association of Chiefs of Police. (2018). Police-Youth Engagement. Web.
O’Leary, Brooke. (2019). A step towards stronger police-youth relationships: Examining how youth and police view the role of police in communities. Community Engagement Student Work, pp. 1-81. Web.
Stern, Shayla. (2019). Serving in the Police Department and becoming a role model. Serve Minnesota. Web.
Toro, Juan et al. (2019). The criminogenic and psychological effects of police stops on adolescent black and Latino boys. PNAS, vol. 116 (17), pp. 8261-8268. Web.