MADISON, Wis. - Over the week through the Youth Police Initiative, local teens and Madison police officers got to see a side of each other they don't usually see.
Beginning Monday, the two groups met every day this week to learn what it's like in each other's shoes and build trust. Participants practiced their leadership skills and public speaking skills while humanizing each other.
"[The officers] are all not the same," student Khadim Sarr said. "Some of them are nice."
The program provided youth with tools in goal-setting, leadership and decision-making and enabled officers to acquire new communication tools and explore best practices based on suggestions made by the youth.
"The biggest take-away is that reminder. While it's been a while since I've been a teenager, I do kind of remember those feelings," North District Neighborhood Officer David Dexheimer said. "So, it was good to get a little of that back."
The youth for this session were individually selected by Terrence Thompson, Warner Park facility manager.
This initiative was offered as a part of the Northside Peace and Safety Program, a collaboration between the Center for Community Stewardship and the Frank Zeidler Center for Public Discussion, a program funded by the City of Madison Safe and Thriving Program and the Madison Community Foundation.
A graduation ceremony was held for the students Saturday afternoon.