The Teen And Police Service Academy represents a new chapter of community policing. By creating partnerships with at-risk teens and police, this union can proactively address some of the most pressing conditions in the community.
TAPS Academy places at-risk teens on equal footing with police in order to exchange ideas and learn from each other. TAPS Academy brings together the best of community policing, lessons learned from DARE, G.R.E.A.T., Citizens Police Academy, Explorers, and other school/community based initiatives in order to move to the next phase of community policing; actively engaging one of the least participative groups in the community; at-risk teens.
It is awe inspiring to see at-risk teens and police working together to understand why crime occurs and most importantly what to do about it. Tapping into this resource creates a synergistic outcome that moves the discussion past “us” verses “them” so that police are seen as assets to the community and youth move from bring at-risk to at-promise.
TAPS Academy is research based and has as a goal to change the way teens think about police as well as how police think about at-risk teens. Misunderstandings come from the lack of communication and interaction. TAPS allows for greater understanding and the opportunity for both groups to act upon their new understandings.
I am honored to serve as the Principal Investigator of this academic/practitioner collaboration. Upon completion we will deliver to law enforcement as well as the greater criminal justice academy a real world, web-based academy, providing step-by-step instructions, training materials, curriculum, communication tools and evaluation procedures. Thus making community policing with at-risk teens an economically prudent method for implementation anywhere in the United States.
Dr. Everette B. Penn is an Associate Professor of Criminology at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. The author of dozens of articles and books on juvenile justice, and pedagogy he is the Co-Founder and Director of the Teen And Police Service Academy.