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Cincinnati Police continue work on youth engagement

Michael Keating

The Cincinnati Police Department is gearing up for several events this spring and summer focused on engaging the city's youth.  

Chief Jeffrey Blackwell outlined the plans Monday during a city council committee meeting.  He said the goal is to get kids off the streets and into a controlled environment.  

Blackwell said one new effort will be meetings with junior and senior class leaders at the city's high schools.

“To talk about youth issues, emerging trends, social media, leadership, character, a whole host of things,” Blackwell said.  “Our goal with this program is to reach the leaders of each of the high schools and have them in direct connection with us (the police department), to break down some barriers, to heal some relationships and just understand young people on a deeper level.”

The police department will be starting a gang resistance program targeting sixth and seventh graders.

“Actually teach the kids basically how to resist the peer pressure of gangs, drugs, bullying, violence,” said Lt. Kim Williams, who is in charge of the police department’s youth engagement.  “It’s geared toward the middle school, upper elementary and middle school age kids.”

Officers will also continue to be involved with teenagers in a number of sporting activities and non-athletic events to help break down barriers.

The department is also setting up a group of clergy to be ambassadors at high profile summer events that have created problems with youth in the past.