BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – Police officers from Binghamton University will launch a training program to connect and improve relationships with local youth from June 6-10, at West Middle School, located on West Middle Avenue in Binghamton.

Officers from the New York State University Police at Binghamton will take part in the Youth & Police Initiative (YPI), a training program created by the Massachusetts-based North American Family Institute to enhance police officers’ understanding of the beliefs, values, and experiences of local youth, while ensuring that youth develop a genuine regard for the challenges that police officers face on the job.

The Binghamton University Police Department received a $15,000 grant from the Community Foundation for South Central New York to fund the YPI program, which will allow Lt. Steven Faulkner, the program’s main organizer, to train officers from NYS University Police, Binghamton Police, and Johnson City police. 

“We’re not just trying to just change the youth and how they act. This is a training for police officers and a training for youth. We are trying to bridge the gap between the two groups and build long-term, better relationships between the community, the youth, and police officers,” said Faulkner.

YPI provides structured dialogue, team building, and role-playing scenarios that allow all participants – youth, educators, and police – to tackle the real and hard issues of crime prevention and community policing. There will be various group exercises, and the youth will get to discuss interactions that they’ve had with the police, whether positive or negative.

The YPI program ends with a graduation gathering that includes food, fun, and awards. Each youth participant will receive a $100 stipend in the form of a VISA gift card.