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Lyrell Walker - 2021 Scholarship Winner

Lyrell Walker is currently a second year MBA student at Clark Atlanta University where she is majoring in Entrepreneurial studies. Her interest in entrepreneurship began at 10 years old when her father owned and operated a Barbershop. Inspired by the idea of ownership, Lyrell learned the ideology of sacrifice quickly when she graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in 2 years. She is currently working towards studying abroad, where she will learn about plants and herbs that can be used in making natural hair products in attempts of opening beauty supply stores in the near future.


Their essay was entitled: Importance of community policing

Our safety and security is left in the hands of police officers whose job is to “serve and protect”. Even though I have no criminal history or malicious intentions, I naturally feel uncomfortable and fearful when in the presence of a police officer. I have witnessed and personally experienced many ill and unnecessary acts committed by certain individuals who abuse their power. My views on community policing always vary when I see and think about my father, he is a pillar of his community and a perfect example of why community policing is important. Growing up in the neighborhood that he works in, he understands the needs of the people and different ways situations can be handled as opposed to automatic brute force.

Google states that “Police typically are responsible for maintaining public order and safety, enforcing the law, and preventing, detecting, and investigating criminal activities”. I believe that being a police officer is more than just that, it is being an entity that people can depend and rely on. You watch videos on social media of police officers playing basketball with kids around the neighborhood or just hanging around to converse, wishing that they were the police in your neighborhood. My father is the president of the Yonkers Guardians Association and recruits and inspires younger minority people to become police officers in their neighborhood. He uses his power to strengthen, inspire and uplift, instead of degrading and disrespecting the people they are supposed to serve and protect. Fortunately, I was raised to see beyond Yonkers, NY and was presented with opportunities to be successful in life, unlike many of my peers. These peers are stuck in a cycle between prison and back on the streets, with people like my father to look up to when they want to break the cycle. I would love to see more police held events in communities in Yonkers, such as “speed dating” where people take turns speaking with the officers expressing their gratitude and concerns. The YPD can also host police vs the community basketball games, cookouts, bowling nights, etc. By hosting these events, I personally would be more comfortable and at ease seeing these officers on the street as opposed to feeling unsteady. It is crucial to build these bonds because it builds a level of mutual respect and allows room for trust and expectations from one another. People can call my father and ask for advice on situations because of the trust that they have in him, vice versa my father can be called to a neighborhood for a dispute and resolve situations through a simple conversation due to the respect that they hold for him through the bonds that they have created. This is not an instant solution but actions that can be taken over time and it begins with kindness.