Amid recent headlines of police shootings and distrust for law enforcement, The Austin Police Department is partnering with a youth organization to help bridge the gap between minorities and law enforcement.
“We have come together with the Austin Police Department to talk about how do we address the tensions between the black and brown communities as it relates to the police department,” said Michael Lofton, CEO of African American Youth Harvest Foundation.
KREW 12, a group of students under the AAYHF decided to make a series of public service announcements....so far they have two...and they will present those to the Austin Police Department Thursday.
“I felt it was important that if we could just tell a story from the kids perspective, then the perspective from the cops to the kids, it would become really important for the generations and communities from here on,” said Charles Staten, director of media.
One PSA talks about how minority-police relationships are perceived,another gives a look at what an officer leaves behind each day before work.
“This all came about after the Dallas police officers were assassinated in the middle of downtown Dallas. A group of officers came to me and began to thin how we can get past this hurdle,” said Ken Casaday, president of Austin Police Association.
Casaday, the Austin Police Department and the AAYHF all agreed to join together and take action. Casaday says one way to help bridge the gap, spend more time with one another.
“Come spend ten hours with me. That's one thing I want the community to know, if you’re interested, have questions or criticisms, spend ten hours with a police officer in a patrol car, you're welcome,” said Casaday.
“How do we show our kids as well as work with officers to be able to deescalate”? said Lofton.
The AAYHF is expected to release at least ten more PSA’s.