Pilot program aimed at reducing youth violence - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Pilot program aimed at reducing youth violence

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Twenty Memphis community outreach program police officers from the Frayser and South Memphis area participated in a three-day training session to help  kids resolve conflicts without resorting to violence.

The areas where the officers work have high volumes of youth violence.

Officers in the The pilot program say kids sometimes feel someone has disrespected them so they use violence to retaliate, in a way to sort of keep their street cred.

This program is to teach officers a different approach when encountering a situation.

"Identify the problem, enforce where necessary to rebuild the community, said Officer Brandon Wherry. "So these tools will help us interact with the community and humanize us in a sense so people understand we're trying to be a solution to what's going on as opposed to always enforcing things."

The methods used to teach were a bit different.

"It ranges not just from the words that we use but our body language and music and our vibration and our breath," said  Megan Price, "So we're trying to incorporate all of those things into our experiences of this."
"This style this approach and technique is, is allowing these officers to open up and be more physically involved in this type of training environment," said Chief Anthony Berryhill. "I think it is an affective and innovative way of getting it done."

Officers said that having new recourses to be able to defuse a situation based upon what they have learned this week is a win-win for all involved.

"A lot of police officers grew up in some of those communities and this gives us the chance to go back and try to rebuild and help build those communities up," Officer Wherry said.

The 20 officers will return in March for another training session and will receive updates from the officers on how the new methods are working.

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