Seminar to focus on positive interaction between police, youth
DELRAY BEACH, FL — A seminar at Pompey Park Community Center on Saturday morning will focus on how young people and police officers interact.
The two-hour seminar, titled, “You and the Law; How to Conduct Yourself When Stopped by the Police,” will begin at 10 a.m.
The seminar is designed to teach young people, in particular the members of the Delray Rocks football program, how they should act when dealing with police officers without the situation escalating to violence or arrest, organizers said.
“I think young people some-times get the wrong idea about how to talk to law enforcement personnel, which can escalate a confrontation,” said Minister Prince Arafat, a longtime com-munity activist and one of the organizers. “I think they are getting mixed messages. They learn in school that it’s okay to interact with the police, but on the streets, it’s another message.”
Scheduled speakers include officers from three local law enforcement agencies, attorney W. Craig Lawson and representatives from the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office.
Organizers say the seminar is necessary to protect local youth, and relevant given the recent events that took place between police and unarmed Black men Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Md.; Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York City.
Delray Beach Police officers, while in the police academy, take a 40-hour course focused on how to communicate and the department provides in service training on communicating, Chief Jeffrey Goldman said.
“The most important tool my officers have is their ability to communicate,” he said.
Goldman said the training stresses treating the public with dignity and respect and also how to maintain your compo-sure in situations officers face daily.
“Many of the citizens we talk to are in stressful or emotional situations,” he said. “That officer cannot allow himself or herself to become stressed out because of the elements.”
Mayor Cary Glickstein praised the seminar as a pro–approach to help students understand their rights and what they can and cannot do legally and as a matter of reality.
“Education is the key,” he said. “By taking a proactive approach, we hope we can create experiences where both sides walk away from the situation safe and in control.”
The seminar should only enhance the already-good relations with law enforcement in Delray Beach, said C. Ron Allen, a president and CEO of KOP Mentoring Network, one of the sponsoring organizations.
“We enjoy a good existing relationship with our local law enforcement and we would like it to develop into an even greater one,” Allen said. “We desire the dynamics where the youth/young adults know each officer and each officer knows our youth/young adults like it was some years ago.”
Sponsors include KOP Mentoring Network, the Delray Beach Police Department, the City of Delray Beach, Stuart and Shelby construction and CRA Media Group.
Light refreshment will be served, and there will be giveaways. Pompey Park is at 901 NW Second St. For more information, call (561) 665-0151.