Teachers Strengthen Community Relations With Police

By Michelle Kapusta ’19 and Tiffany Fu ’19

Community policing is a system that appoints officers to particular areas in order for the officers to become familiar with the residents. A presentation about the important community policing presentation was held in the auditorium for Mr. Peter Chicofsky, social studies teacher, and his third, fourth, seventh, and eighth period law classes during third period on December 12.

In the past, the relationship between the community and police has been strained due to distrust. Many incidents including the Eric Garner case where the police accused Garner, age 43, of selling untaxed cigarettes. The police used a chokehold and violence to subdue him and with his last words of “I can’t breathe” Garner became famous. Such cases like these make people believe in police brutality cause tension between the people and police.

“A lot of citizens are afraid of the police and don’t know what the police do and hate police,” said Mr. Chicofsky, “This is a small step to bring the community and police together.”

These presentations hope to be a small step in for the community and police to regain a relationship and start to build a trust.

The presentation included two police officers from the neighborhood and discussed many issues that are taking place such as bullying, gun laws, school safety, and police involvement in the community.

“The kids enjoyed talking to the police and had a lot of questions after the conversation,” said Mr. Chicofsky.

Mr. Richard Franzese, assistant principal, helped organize the presentation.

“I think it is important in this current climate, to establish relationships between the community and the police to create

bridges of communication to avoid any misunderstandings,” said Mr. Franzese.

Many of the students from Mr. Chicofksky’s class attended the presentation and were able to have successful

discussions with the police officers.

“The presentation was informative, they were good at building bonds by answering questions we had and they gave

insight on what they do in the community,” said Andrew Gonzalez ‘19, “Some questions that came up were about the tension between the community and the police, new gun rules that are gonna be passed and a few people asked why school safety don’t have guns.”

On the other hand, it is doubtful that any major changes will be made after the presentation.

“It needs to be an ongoing event, possibly for years for a change to happen,” said Mr. Chicofsky. “A thirty minute meeting in the auditorium between two cops and thirty four kids will not change anything.”

Mr. Franzese said, “It’s like planting a seed, we’ll see what happens, Iknow there were some positive feedback from some of the students and we are looking to expand the program in the spring to include more of our students, student government, and the students who want to participate and engage in this topic so, we have a wait and see approach but I do feel good about it.”

In the future Mr. Franzese hopes to arrange more presentations to strengthen the class of community policing at Midwood.  

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