DALLAS (AP) The police chief in Dallas has announced a youth jobs program meant to give children something to do during high-crime summer months and better connect officers to underserved areas.
Chief U. Renee Hall said the DPD to You(th) initiative will focus on students from schools with higher rates of crime and arrests, The Dallas Morning News reported .
Hall noted that she was raised in "a very unsupported" area of Detroit, Michigan, but never felt restricted. She attributed it to being able to depend on her mother, police officers and other mentors that kept her focused on her potential.
"I want to make sure I am in a position to give that back," Hall said.
The project involves recruiting 50 students, from schools primarily in South Dallas, and inserting them in occupations with the city's government agencies, nonprofits and the Dallas Police Department.
In the summer, volunteers will mentor the students in the program.
Assistant City Manager Jon Fortune, who supervises public safety, said the program "is critical as we look for ways to have a greater impact on the lives of teens."
Calvert Collins-Bratton, president of police booster group Safer Dallas, said she hopes the program will help students build constructive relationships with law enforcement.
"We believe giving these teens a workplace, a paycheck and mentors that they will be inspired to go back to school in August with an excitement about their future," Collins-Bratton said.
In addition to the summer jobs program, police officials aim to host a citywide youth community service day as a part of the chief's community engagement strategy.
Hall said she would like to see the jobs program continue evolving in the years ahead.
"We will be rolling up our sleeves to ensure the success of this program," Hall said. "If we can capture these individuals in their vulnerable stages and give them opportunities, we can change the state of Dallas."
Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com
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