PITTSBURGH, PA (March 23, 2021) The City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police has won a state grant to boost efforts to work with city youth to reduce violence.
The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency awarded the Bureau a $126,718 Community Violence grant to fund officer participation in Youth Connections programming, develop and train Youth Advisory Council members, and provide implicit bias training to teachers and staff at local schools.
Youth Connections (YC) is a program Pittsburgh Police designed to build relationships between Pittsburgh youth and police officers in City communities.
Through the program officers meet monthly with 9th grade students at Pittsburgh Public Schools, where they engage in mentoring, conduct lessons about the rights and responsibilities of young people during police interactions, engage in conversations about negative or positive police experiences, discuss stereotypes associated with each group, and engage in reverse role-play scenarios where the youth assume the role of the police officer in reality-based scenarios.
“Youth Connections is among the most important outreach programs Pittsburgh Police have right now, and is making a real difference in improving community relations and sparking interest in the Public Safety Academy at Westinghouse High School,” Mayor William Peduto said. “I want to thank PCCD for this grant, as well as the students and Police Bureau officials participating in the program.”
“PBP is so honored to receive PCCD grant monies to support efforts at building relationships with Pittsburgh youth,” says Community Engagement Officer Sergeant Tiffany Costa. “Youth Connections is a powerful way to establish bonds between youth and officers in a neutral environment that is conducive to hearing each other and building trust.”
The grant funds will pay for wages for patrol officers who attend Youth Connections programming while not on duty, meals at Youth Connections mentor-focused sessions, and a consultant fee for 5A Elite, which is the nonprofit that trains youth leaders who have graduations from YC session to join its Youth Advisory Council.