NHPD Initiative Sends Officers into Schools to Connect with Kids

See great coverage by the New Haven Register here!
Watch WTNH's report on the initative here and NBC30's report here!
Read story in Yale Daily News here!
Dec. 5, 2012
Abbe Smith
NHPS Director of Communications
Assistant Police Chief Luiz Casanova and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Reginald Mayo joined students, teachers and staff at Hill Central School to announce a New Haven Police Department initiative that brings Community-Based Officers into the schools on a weekly basis to strengthen relationships between police and schools.
On Wednesday, Hill Central Principal Glen Worthy and students got to meet their community-based officer, Robert Clark, who patrols the Hill South district. The new initiative strengthens community policing efforts and compliments the district’s newly expanded community and parent engagement efforts.
In the fall, the New Haven Police Department committed to visiting every school on opening day. The new initiative follows that effort and is part of an ongoing plan to cultivate and nurture positive relationships between police officers and students at schools throughout the city. The partnership seeks to enhance community-police relations and is seen as an additional strategy for reducing crime throughout the city.
The city currently has 10 Community-Based Officers in neighborhoods throughout the city. As the new initiative rolls out, each of the 10 officers will visit elementary and middle schools located in their district once a week, and meet with the principal, walk around the school and become acquainted with staff and students. The officer will visit the same school each week and serve as an additional resource for the school. The district also has separate School Resource Officers assigned to high schools in the area.
“The New Haven Police Department is committed to community policing, which is why we initiated this program,” said New Haven Police Chief Dean Esserman. “When kids get to know their neighborhood police officer at school and then see him again when they get off the bus in the afternoon, that creates a bond. That officer is one more positive role model in that child’s life.”
“I want our young people to look at New Haven police officers as role models, mentors and friends,” said Superintendent Mayo. “When we build relationships between our police and our schools, we strengthen the fabric of our community. We want students and families to see police officers as community partners, in addition to protectors. I am grateful to Chief Esserman and the police department for their support of our schools.”
This year, the district is expanding community and parent engagement efforts, which have included three community canvasses and the launch of Parent University New Haven. For the canvasses, hundreds of volunteers spread out into neighborhoods throughout the city and knocked on doors to talk to parents about the New Haven Promise college scholarship program, Boost! support services and Parent University. New Haven Public Schools will continue reaching out to parents and the community with new ways for people to get involved and be a part of the city’s mission of improving all of its schools.