Tamir Rice, Freddie Grey, Officer Brelo...all names you may think of when it comes to police and the community.
And as the Cleveland Police Department, by way of the consent decree, begins recruiting and testing more candidates in the spring, there’s one local program that works specifically with the youth.
The CMHA Police Department’s Explore Program is a group focused on training inner city youth who may want to join the force someday.
19-year-old Antwone Clemons is a sergeant leader in the program. He said, "It’s very rigorous. Our advisors make it as realistic as possible.”
CMHA’s Chief of Police Andres Gonzalez said, “It’s really about identifying those kids, right under our noses, right in our backyard and teaching them and embracing them to be the future leaders of tomorrow."
For Antowne, that’s exactly why he joined. As a leader, he encourages others his age to have a positive outlook on law enforcement.
He said, “A lot of times they’re brought up on ‘This officer is, if you act bad this officer is going to arrest you’ or some people aren’t teaching their kids about what to do when you see a police officer, so any type of behavior that they do they think it’s ok.”
“My vision of what community policing is, is police officers actually engaging the community, engaging parents, adults, grandparents; everyone in the community, not neglecting anyone. It’s building connections and it’s building relationships," said Antwone.
Antwone wants to be a police chief one day and hopes to change our community by enforcing positive change.
The Explore Program has accepted nearly 30 kids this year. After being a part of it for five years now, Antwone plans to enroll in the actual police academy next year.
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