In recent years it has become more and more evident that there is a need to build relationships and to heal old wounds between police and the communities we serve. With this in mind, in 2017, I.U.P.A. local, the Yonkers PBA created the B.R.I.C.K. program which stands for Building Relationships through Interactions with Cops and Kids. We recognize that like building a home, building relationships are done one step at a time, or, one BRICK at a time.
Along with local high schools, the PBA hosts BRICK sessions where we gather thirty or so students mixed with six to eight cops in an open, comfortable forum. School faculty are asked to have the students prepare questions and be prepared for an honest dialogue on hard hitting topics revolved around policing including police brutality, police involved shootings and more.
With each and every BRICK session, the dialogue has gotten more honest, productive and rewarding. The kids walk away with a better understanding of how police operate in an urban community, and equally as important, the police officers get an opportunity to listen to the concerns of the kids. The BRICK program has been virtual throughout COVID-19, but soon in-person sessions will soon resume.
“As President of the Yonkers PBA, and as a lifelong resident of Yonkers, NY, I am proud of this important program and the steps that we’ve taken to form a bond with the community we serve. I look forward to building on our successes and spreading this program to other police departments and communities.”
– Detective Keith Olson
President, Yonkers PBA
See below for our BRICK program photos: