Youth Educating Police Training & Workshop

A youth-specific training curriculum educating officers on the teen brain and key youth tendencies, working towards healthier relationships.

Photo of Britton Masback
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  • Technology

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Date You Started Your Project Started

February / 22 / 2017

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Established (successfully passed early phases, have a plan for the future)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Youth Educating Police (YEP) is a student-led non-profit in Portland centered on using outreach and training to foster positive and productive youth/police relationships. Launched as a social entrepreneurial venture, it was founded to address the issue that while 3.5% of police officer interaction with the public is with the 15-19 age demographic, 30% of incidents involving police use of force are within that same age group.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Working with youth, law enforcement agencies and research professionals, YEP has three main initiatives: Police Peace PDX (PPPDX) is a yearly forum in Portland that brings together police officers, prosecutors, public defenders, community activists, and teens for the purpose of identifying issues, airing divergent viewpoints, and developing consensus on specific policies to address tensions between police officers and youth. Youth Instructing Police Curriculum (YIP). Our marquee program, the YIP training curriculum, is a combination of brain science, youth testimonies and communication tips that help officers understand common youth tendencies and risk factors, acknowledging that youth deserve a different level of respect and attention than adults. After years of research and focus groups, the YIP training will be introduced to all 1000 officers of the Portland Police Bureau this Winter. Youth Education Initiative (YEI). In this program, teens are offered resources to help stage police/community events, workshops, and forums. YEI empowers youth “voice” while simultaneously asking young people to take responsibility for reducing tensions in the youth/police relationship.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

I had just turned 16 when 17-year-old Quanice Hayes, a fellow resident of Portland, was shot and killed by police while face down on the ground, unarmed, and surrounded by police officers. The horrors of incidents in distant cities like Ferguson and Baltimore became all-too-real for me mere minutes from my home. This motivated me and my peers to look for a solution to an urgent societal problem -- how to stop the violence perpetrated by police on young people, how to help police understand the youth mindset, how to help police officers and young people find common ground? I founded YEP at a entrepreneur’s startup weekend more than two years ago. In a single weekend, I led a group of Portland teens through an exercise that established YEP’s goals, identified its deliverables, and validated its concept among police officials, a US DOJ official, and fellow youth.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

While our training program has the potential to change policy and long-held training standards, our PPPDX dialogue events are our most noted programs because of their individual impact. Police-community relations suffer for two reasons: the type of outdated policy we are addressing through our training curriculum, and the simple distance between the perceived "institution" of policing and the "rest" of the community. What's special about our forum events is that we bring two diametrically opposed groups together — teens of color and largely, white officers — to speak on police issues, but also to find common ground on lighthearted community issues: the Blazer's fourth quarter loss, the new all-electric trimet bus or Damian Lillard's latest album. We have developed role play scenarios and dynamic activities that "force" both sides to work together and see each other as community equals.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

While there is considerable research and discourse around improving police-community relations, there is limited action specific to youth and youth of color. Our platform is unique because instead of relying solely on brain science, we personalize the curriculum to tell a human story, for which brain development is only one factor. In addition, while the plight of youth may have driven the work, YEP acknowledges the challenging role filled by police, and is committed to providing police their own interactive platform to establish more effective channels of communication with young people.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Since our founding three years ago, YEP has made substantial progress on both short term and long term goals. We have staged four Police Peace PDX Forum events featuring prominent criminal and social justice officials and activists, garnering the support of community groups such as the Multnomah Youth Commission and Portland Mayor Wheeler. We developed a two-hour training curriculum for the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) that uses brain science, the latest training protocols, and the input of teens to radically shift how police see and interact with youth. With the support of PPB Chief Daniele Outlaw, this will be put before all 1000 officers and command staff in Winter 2019. We formed the YEP Advisory Board, a 10-person board consisting of community activists, Portland Police Bureau officers, and high school students to provide ongoing counsel as we seek to take our program nationwide.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

YEP has spent the last two years refining a robust training curriculum. After working on our Portland Pilot, the Chief challenged us further: “I fully anticipate this becoming a national model for policing. The work YEP is doing can and will be replicated across the U.S.” Our goal of spreading our work to some of 18,000 national police depts. will follow two paths. First, we plan to make our curriculum open source. We believe the democratization of resources is critical to collective learning and change, so we will create an accessible online version with helpful organizing notes. Second, we have identified three key U.S. cities to work with on an individual basis in 2020, aiming to introduce a tailored curriculum by the end of the year.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Monitoring Impact

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations between $1k-$5k

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others
  • Word of mouth

Evaluation results

4 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 20%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 80%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. - 0%

2. Changemaker Quality

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 80%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 20%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Creativity

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 20%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 20%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 60%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Commitment

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 66.7%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 100%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Connection

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 40%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 60%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Matthew Peiffer

Great idea! I have been working with police departments all over Indiana training them how to look for child abuse and Dealing with foster kids! It all starts with good parenting.

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