Spokane youth and police officers reunited on Thursday to celebrate the completion of the department's program to build a stronger bond between the two parties.
"I would say that I learned a lot and if I didn't go here I would probably still be iffy about police officers," Elizabeth Alkana, a junior at North Central High School said.
She was one of the roughly 100 students who participated in Spokane Police Department's Youth and Police Initiative (YPI). Over the past year, area youth and police officers have been meeting in sessions to promote more positive interactions in the future. By having open discussions, doing team-building exercises and recreating law enforcement scenarios, youth and police find new ways to enhance community policing. There was nine sessions to cover all areas of the City of Spokane.
?I've been more convinced at how successful the program is no matter what demographic we're dealing with,? Officer Ben Green said. ?We've seen tremendous success.?
When Green and Alkana were first working together during the April session at the West Central Community Center, it wasn't on the greatest terms.