This past weekend 28 students, 13-16 years old, graduated from the Greenburgh Police Summer Youth Camp--now in our 20th year! I am very proud of the camp—which I think has been a model for police/community relations. The police interact with young people and our camper’s interact with the police, learning about policing and law enforcement. The interaction between the community and police has helped our town avoid the problems and hostility that other police departments around the country have experienced. Members of the community are comfortable dealing with police in Greenburgh. And our community policing initiative has shown the community that our police have empathy and understanding and that our police department seeks out diversity.
The program is modeled after a police academy where youngsters are placed in similar settings similar to that experienced by police recruits. The seven week course consisted of physical training and classroom instruction in law and other related topics. The students met with representatives of the FBI, the DA, the US Secret Service and other criminal just system agencies.
The campers were given demonstrations by specialized police units such as the Greenburgh Police Special Operations Unit. Field trips to local courts, the NYC Police Department Training Academy were organized. And there was a two day trip to Washington DC.
Contemporary issues such as alcohol and drug abuse were also addressed and students participated in various role playing scenario's which illustrated the practical everyday problems faced by law enforcement officers. Campers also received instruction in cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and First Aid and Stop the Bleed.
The goal of our police camp was to expose young people--many from low income neighborhoods- to law enforcement and to build up their self esteem and building skills. We want them to feel comfortable interacting with the police. In fact, two of our current police officers are graduates of the camp. Sergeant Norman Hall, Commanding Officer of the Community Affairs Unit sent me the attached photos.
Positive community relations is an investment and helps eliminate mistrust. The Lanza Family Foundation has been a major sponsor of the camp for many years –offsetting some of the costs.
Greenburgh Town Supervisor