U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand today announced $132,319 for the Albany Police Department to support its Youth Police Initiative (YPI) as well as expand it to three other police departments across Upstate New York. Schumer and Gillibrand explained that the YPI program aims to promote dialogue and increased understanding between law enforcement and at-risk youth through classes, forums and other community-based programs. Specifically, the grant will support the existing YPI program in Albany, and support the start of new pilot programs the cities of Schenectady, Troy and Syracuse. These programs will then be evaluated for effectiveness, so local police departments can better understand what programs are succeeding and work to determine the best way to curb crime across Upstate NY municipalities.
“Mutual understanding and positive relationship between law enforcement and the general public are key to keeping our communities safe,” said Senator Schumer. “Police must be aware of the beliefs and values of communities that they serve, and those communities must appreciate the sacrifices and dangers borne by law enforcement. This Youth Police Initiative is a bold response to a critical issue our communities face, and these funds will not only help us develop pilot programs so we can begin building better community-cop relations, but also give us an important opportunity to assess our programs so we can take a bite out of crime across our communities in Upstate NY going forward.”
“Safety within the community is enhanced when we help foster and build good relationships with residents and members of the police department, and these funds will help achieve that goal,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The youth police initiative in Albany is a vital building block to help expand pilot programs around upstate New York that focus on enhancing community relationships. Together we can build a better environment for people in our communities, especially our youth, through trust and opening the lines of communications.”
“This grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to evaluate the Youth-Police Initiative in Albany and export it to other Upstate cities once again confirms the nationally recognized leadership of the Albany Police Department,” said Albany Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan. “We are grateful to Senator Schumer for advocating for a police department that is building bridges between officers and youth and fostering understanding, trust, and safer communities.”
“More than ever, police and the communities we serve need to work together to develop innovative and effective ways to engage our youth,” said Albany Police Chief Brendan J. Cox. “As the department strives to achieve its goal of ‘Winning Over a Generation,’ programs such as the Youth and Police Initiative (YPI), have been essential to building positive, meaningful and lasting relationships between our youth and members of the police department. With the assistance of Community Policing Development grant for ‘Exploring and Evaluating Youth Police Initiative,’ we can build upon our successes to ensure that our youth recognize their full potential and understand that they will always have someone in their corner leading them on a path towards success. I’d like to thank U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian, for their continued support and leadership in helping secure the funds necessary to build upon this very successful program.”
“I am excited to have the Schenectady Police Department participate in the youth police initiative,” said Schenectady Police Chief Eric S. Clifford. “Building stronger relationships within the community, especially between youths in the community and the police, are of the highest priority for us. As we expand our community policing efforts and our PAL program, and focus on youth initiatives, together we will see relationships evolve to where dignity, respect, and trust is shared by all.”
This federal investment will be managed by the Albany Police Department in partnership with the John Finn Institute for Public Policy. The John Finn Institute is an Albany based nonprofit focused on criminal justice reform. The Albany Police Department is a mid-sized agency and serves a city of just under 100,000 residents. The Schenectady Police Department is a mid-sized agency and serves a city of just under 70,000 residents. The Troy Police Department is a mid-sized agency serving a residential population of 50,000 residents. The Syracuse Police Department is a mid-sized agency and serves a city of approximately 145,000 residents.
The YPI program is being undertaken in response to recommendations put forward by the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The 2016 Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Community Policing Development (CPD) program provides funding to advance community policing through training and technical assistance to local police departments. The Microgrant Initiative for Law Enforcement is a subsection of the CPD program that provides single-year grants tailored to the specific, unique community needs. Microgrants do not require local matching.