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Police and youth will get together at National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers event in Providence

Dated: Friday October 09, 2009

When: Oct. 29 and 30, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Providence Marriott Downtown, 1 Orms St.
Media invited

PROVIDENCE  Building a better relationship between youth and police  and helping young people make good choices  is the goal of a national police organization that is holding a special youth symposium in Providence at the end of this month.

The National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers is holding its fall law enforcement education and training conference and its board of directors meeting in Providence Oct. 29 through 31 at the Providence Marriott Hotel, 1 Orms Street, and in conjunction will offer a two-day conference for local youth to better police relations with young people.

The Children of Courage Youth Symposium scheduled Thursday, Oct. 29, and Friday, Oct. 30, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., is meant to increase understanding between police and youth and inspire youth to make choices that will better their lives, according to Lieut. Charles Wilson, National Chairman of the association and an officer in the Rhode Island College Campus Police Department.

The idea is that we want youth to know that law enforcement can be part of their lives in a positive way. We want to help them understand that were here to help, and we want to hear from them what they think we should be doing to have a better relationship with them, said Lieut. Wilson.

The association has sponsored a similar program in New Jersey for 15 years, but this is the first time it is offering it in Rhode Island, where it hopes to make it an annual event. About 40 to 50 youth age 15 to 18 from several urban school districts and their teachers or guidance counselors are scheduled to attend.

The event will include sessions teaching participants what to do if theyre stopped by police and about the importance of avoiding drug and alcohol abuse, as well as a forum where participants will able to discuss what they think needs to be done to improve understanding between police and people their own age. There will also be a number of other features designed to be helpful to youth, including a college fair that will include tips from college officials on what makes a strong college application and a mini job fair with participation by the Department of Labor and the National Guard. Several private employers have also been invited. There will also be a section called My Family and My History, a section designed to address black history that is often absent from classroom curricula.

The youth event is a way for the association to take action on the conferences theme of rebuilding commitment to community, said Lieut. Wilson.

Besides improving relationships between police and youth, the symposium is meant to give youth information that can help them improve their own future, he said.

The whole concept is that if you give kids something of value that they can use now and in the immediate future, itll help keep them in school, keep them out of gangs and help keep them out of the juvenile criminal justice system, said Lieut. Wilson.

The youth symposium is free to students 15 though 18, but registration is required. Those interested can register at

The associations conference, which is expected to be attended by board members from across the nation, and members of local law enforcement agencies, will be held concurrently with the youth symposium, as well as the following day. A luncheon will be held at noon Saturday, where the keynote speaker will be the Hon. William C. Clifton, Associate Justice of the Rhode Island District Court. For more information about the conference, visit the associations conference website,

The National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, Inc, a 501.(c).(3) non-profit, is a premier national organization representing the interests and concerns of African American, Latino and other criminal justice practitioners of color serving in law enforcement, corrections, and investigative agencies throughout the United States, and the communities in which they serve.

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