When the Police Listen



By: Allen Johnson

Much of the NOPD’s Brown Plan involves technical recommendations such as upgrading police vehicles, which the study calls “the rolling storefronts” of the force. On another front, NOPD and area ministers are expected to kick off a more visible effort — a youth mentoring program in crime-riddled Central City. “We’re going to use our crime prevention officers as mentors in those areas [and] try to pull those kids off the street, get them involved in some positive activities, from educational activities to sports activities,” Police Chief Warren Riley says. The chief later added: “We’re focusing on Central City because … we’re certainly having some problems with the youth in that community.” Community activists have long complained about police harassment of neighborhood youths, especially those sporting dreadlocks and baggy pants. The Brown Plan encourages cops to work with community members to resolve problems and to set priorities. NOPD Lt. Gervais Allison Sr., an 18-year veteran of the force, is the department’s point man for the effort. Pastors include Rev. John Raphael, a former NOPD officer.

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