RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–Can teen-agers from Richmond public schools help turn the tide in the recent spate of murders, robberies and other violent crime?
RPD Chief Bryan Norwood believes so. Thursday afternoon, he helped swear in his fourth annual crop of Young Adult Police Commissioners. The ten teens join 17 exisiting youth commissioners who serve as liaisons between to the police and youth throughout Richmond.
“The Young Adult Police Commissioners is a group of young people that work with the chief of police to bridge the gap between young adults and the police officers,” said Selah Coleman, the president of the group. She said they hold talent shows and forums “so teens from different Richmond public schools come together and we discuss what’s going on in our neighborhoods, what’s going on in our schools and what we do to change it.”
Lately it’s been one murder, one robbery, one bad news story after another in Richmond. Virginia Commonwealth University is on high alert.
It’s enough to make you wonder if there’s a new wave of destruction beginning like there was in the 80s and 90s, another generation of lost youth that all but killed Richmond back then.
“I don’t think so,” Norwood said. “We’ve looked at the history.” He said there was a similar flare-up eight years ago, but overall, the city continues to win the war on violent crime. “I don’t want to minimize it, but I think we’re past the difficult part here. I think we’re going to continue to get better and better towards the end of the year.”
He said programs like the youth commissioners help spread the cure for Richmond’s deep-rooted poverty-related problems: a commitment that we’re all is this together.