LMPD forms council with teenagers in hopes of change
LMPD Chief Steve Conrad addressing Youth Police Advisory Council.
Chief Steve Conrad
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Teenagers and police officers are not the most likely pair when you think of conquering some of Louisville Metro's toughest problems. However, there's a brand new Youth Police Advisory Council that is doing just that.
LMPD Chief Steve Conrad said it is all about keeping an open dialogue. It was his idea to meet with teenagers from all over Louisville on a regular basis, knowing both sides of this group has a lot to gain.
"Now I get to see why sometimes they are under stress or under pressure because I've heard of their side of story and I get to see how they have to act," said Frank Bencomo, an Atherton High School student part of the youth council.
Conrad said his side is getting just as much out of the Youth Police Advisory Council as the students are.
"I find myself on a regular basis getting advice from a lot of people, but this is a really important demographic that I think I was missing," said Conrad.
Conrad said some of the best ideas come from the youngest minds.
"You know we talked a bit about the anonymous tip line that we have and they kind of came back with you know we need to repackage that and message that so it is focused in on youth," said Conrad.
Bencomo sees on a regular basis how drugs and violence impact his peers.
"I think a big pressure is on rap music and movies, they tend to portray the police almost as the bad guy in the situation because they try to stop them and that's carried over as to how they think of police officers," said Bencomo.
If positive relationships can be built through what may seem like an unlikely pairing, Conrad hopes that can only lead to positive change.
"Having more insight through the council has given me a lot more trust, I would say that there are more good cops than dirty ones," said Naomi Adams of Atherton High School.
At the next meeting, Conrad hopes to get the students' advice on how to reduce gun violence. This group will meet every other month for the next two years.