The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Yale Police Department will work together to run a law enforcement and legal training program at Yale for local youth this summer. The camp, now in its third year, will feature workshops, lectures and activities with local, state and federal law enforcement officials.
“The program is unlike any other program in the country,” said Charles Grady, community outreach specialist for New Haven’s FBI field office. “Our primary goal in creating this program was to help shape and mold young individuals who were thinking about careers in law enforcement and to expose them to a multitude of career choices.”
The program, officially called the Future Law Enforcement Youth Academy, will be limited to 30 Connecticut high school students, selected through an application process that includes two interviews and a short essay. The selected students will spend one week over the summer at the overnight camp, which the Yale Police Department and Yale Police Chief Ronnell Higgins and FBI special agent in charge Patricia Ferrick helped organize.
Higgins could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
The program will cover various aspects of law and police work, such as forensics, cybercrime and civil rights. Gemma Joseph Lumpkin, the chief of youth family and community engagement at the New Haven Board of Education, spoke positively about the program, noting that it is important to build positive relationships between police and youth in New Haven.
“Any opportunity to build relationships between our community, which includes our youth community and our general community, with law enforcement … is a very positive thing for New Haven and for our young people,” she said.
The program has also tried to curate a diverse group of students. Grady, who also helped organize the program, said that of the 30 students, there will be 15 boys and 15 girls, representing different cultural and ethnic backgrounds and hailing from across Connecticut. Students will be paired with professionals in law enforcement from their respective counties. Collaboration between agencies, Grady added, will be an essential feature, in the future, of law enforcement.
Shafiq Abdussabur, a retired sergeant and district commander at the New Haven Public Safety Administration, framed the program’s importance in a national context, pointing to the recent epidemic of shootings in this country as evidence for the importance of fostering civic youth engagement.
“I think it’s a great program,” Abdussabur said. “We need to positively engage youths and create a space for youths where they can exchange ideas and emotions and the challenges and things that they are going through. I think [the program] should be something that is modeled throughout the entire country … not just in New Haven”
The instructors at the academy will include federal agents and attorneys, forensic scientists, judges and police officers.
Keshav Raghavan | firstname.lastname@example.org