Corvallis teens partner with police to build trust

After a year of working together, the teens gave a presentation to the Corvallis City Council.

Posted: Apr 5, 2018 11:50 AM

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- The Boys and Girls Club of Corvallis partnered with the Corvallis Police Department a year ago, to start a program that would help build trust between teens.

The program was lead by the Keystone Leaders, a diverse group of teens at the Boys & Girls Club. Despite the club's strong relationship with the Corvallis Police Department, the teens realized that on a certain level they were afraid of the police.

"I was there when I first heard them talk about their fear," said Daniela Shaw, the High School Program Coordinator for the Club. She said the group decided to face its fears, by spending time with real life police officers.

It started with bonding activities, like decorating cookies, carving pumpkins and playing volleyball. Then, it expanded into discussion panels where teens got to address their concerns face to face with officers.

"As we introduced them, the teens just kind of opened up and it was just amazing to see," said Shaw. 

On Monday, after a year of working together, the teens gave a presentation to the Corvallis City Council. They suggested the city add a second student resource officer in the school district.

Lt. Cord Wood of the Corvallis Police Department said the interaction is leading to real change in the community.

"One of the ideas we're exploring is maybe having the teens put together some type of class or presentation that they could deliver to law enforcement, to make law enforcement aware of their perceptions which is important...and give law enforcement ideas on how communicating with them could be more effective," said Lt. Wood.

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