Mission: The Bridging the Gap Program seeks to proactively improve relationships between youth and law enforcement in Denver by educating youth on their rights and responsibilities when in contact with law enforcement, and educating officers on key aspects of adolescent development and de-escalation techniques when contacting youth.
Vision: Youth and police officers will gain the tools they need to navigate non-threatening contacts and build better relationships that will result in more community ownership and partnership for better public safety.
In 2014 the Office of the Independent Monitor (OIM) began developing and testing our Youth Outreach Project's (YOP) Bridging the Gap: Kids and Cops curriculum, and understood the need to build a sustainable model rooted in the community. With strong community partnerships, the program has a wide reach throughout diverse communities in Denver and is working to cultivate a team of experts in the community who, along with law enforcement, can sustain the programming over time with professional training in order to deliver the curriculum to youth and officers at monthly forums.
Thanks to The Denver Foundation and our community partners GRASP, Servicios de La Raza, and Project VOYCE, OIM is offering a series of facilitation trainings through The Conflict Center as it relates to the implementation of the Youth Outreach Project. We held our first kick-off training in late January which covered facilitation skills and emotional intelligence principles.
Approximately every six to eight weeks we will host a facilitator training for adult and youth community leaders and service providers who want to serve as facilitators for the YOP forums in 2016. We provide a daily stipend for all participants who attend the all day training with the expectation that participants will facilitate three to five forums over the next year.
Overall, OIM's facilitation training series will cover the following topics:
- Facilitation skills specific to youth/officer dialogue
- Restorative Justice Principles
- Emotional Intelligence Principles
- Trauma-Informed Practice
- Positive Youth Development
- Constitutional Rights and Responsibilities
- Proper Police Practice
- Common laws affecting Denver youth, i.e. marijuana, traffic & curfew
- Implicit Bias
Lunch and snacks will be provided for all trainings.
Please register for one of our upcoming facilitator trainings this fall. Dates and start times are listed for each training.
If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact YOP Coordinator at KidsandCops@denvergov.org or at (720) 913-3212.