Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly kicked-off intensive multicultural immersion training for approximately 1,100 uniformed New York City Police recruits Thursday, Dec. 18. The recruits assembled for a muster roll-call and marched from the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building to the Apollo Theater in Harlem, where they were addressed by a panel of community leaders invited by Commissioner Kelly to discuss issues concerning the police and community relations.
“We invited some of New York’s most prominent figures in religion, activism and the media to speak to you today in direct, unvarnished terms about the state of police and community relations,” Commissioner Kelly said. “The message that will be conveyed is important to the Police Department, and to the City of New York.”
Beginning with its June 2007 class, the NYPD introduced multicultural immersion training for police recruits. The Police Academy course, titled “Advancing Community Trust (ACT)-Together for a United New York,” culminates six months of comprehensive community relations and law enforcement training that police recruits undergo in the Police Academy, and is in addition to continued in-service community-relations training provided to all police officers.
The ACT multicultural immersion course is designed to motivate improved understanding by police recruits of the communities they’ll serve, to enhance professionalism and to foster mutual respect between the Department and New York citizens. Recruits attend presentations by the Civilian Complaint Review Board, Community Affairs Bureau, Commanding Officers and prominent community members from various precincts, as well as participate in interactive information sessions covering multiple ethnic, religious and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities, and youth perspectives. Lecture-based and role-play presentations extend over four days at the Apollo Theater and Police Academy, just prior to graduation ceremonies at Madison Square Garden.
A Community Concerns Panel begins each immersion course and focuses on the importance of good police and community relations, community perceptions and expectations of the police, strategies to help break down barriers between police and the community, panelists’ personal experiences and encounters with NYPD police officers, and ways to help prepare police officers to understand factors that contribute towards fear and distrust of the police.
The December 2008 Community Concerns panelists include:
- Commissioner Margarita Lopez, New York City Housing
- The Rev. Al Sharpton
- The Rev. A.R. Bernard, Pastor and CEO, Christian
Cultural Center, Brooklyn
- Errol Lewis, New York Daily News columnist
- Bob Law, community activist; founder National Respect
Yourself Youth Organization, Save our Sons
- Dominic Carter, NY1 (moderator)
Previous Community Concerns panelists include:
Rev. Al Sharpton
Bishop Lester Williams
Rev. Calvin Butts
Rev. Herbert Daughtry
Rev. Floyd Flake
Luis Garden Acosta