Cops and Kids Program
Cops & Kids is an experiential workshop for police officers and youth, that was developed in the early 1990s and delivered to youth and new Ottawa Police recruits.
The aim of the workshop is to teach youth and police cooperative and collaborative problem solving through values clarification, communications skills and cultural sensitivity. The purpose is to improve relationships between police and youth and to enhance their interpersonal skills.
Activities carried out in the workshop include understanding levels of conflict, listening to understand, being curious, delaying judgment, values clarification, cultural sensitivity, facilitating problem-solving, and the negative impact of stereotyping. This two-day workshop uses short lecturettes, interactive discussion, small and large group work, and role-playing.
The long-term goal of Cops and Kids is to strengthen relationships between police and youth. Training police officers and youth together provides a venue by which existing stereotypes can be broken leading to improved communication and mutual understanding. It is hoped that this will lead to the strengthening of police community relations today and in the future.
Cops and Kids target new recruits, experienced officers, and youth. The youth targeted to participate in Cops and Kids often come from low income, new immigrant and multicultural neighborhoods. At risk and problem youth have benefited greatly from this program. Schools, community groups, church and service organizations have all referred youth to the program.