The Importance of S.A.V.E: Creating meaningful lasting relationships with police

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MONROE, La. (06/16/2020) — In the garden is where crops grow, but it’s also where young men like Demartez Johnson, have blossomed.​

“Anybody can do anything in life but you have to go and get it. You got to work for it,” Johnson said.

The Monroe Police Department has created two youth programs, like S.A.V.E., to create meaningful relationships with the police.

Since the reality for many black boys, “At first when I thought about police, I thought they would shoot me.,” said Jahkeith Duncan.

​However, through the youth programs, “We now have young men that are now attorneys, we have some who are currently in law school.,” said O.K. Program Coordinator Ezzard Burton.

“They’ve planted seeds, they’ve watered the garden, and they’re seeing the fruits of their labor and so it allows them the opportunity to work hand and hand with police and to build trust with us so, in times like these where other youth may not trust police, they trust us because they know who we are.”​

Interim Chief Reggie Brown, Monroe Police Department

​Johnson agreed, “The trust, it became wonderful.”

“I feel good because they protect you and teach you things {like} what to do in life,” said Duncan.

Organizers want the youth to walk away with valuable skills they can use daily.

“We’re hoping these young men gain a knowledge of themselves, we want them to be productive and model citizens of the City of Monroe​,” said Youth Service Coordinator Jason Stewart.

With the money to fund this project supplied by Ascent Health Services, “We’re able to bring the family the knowledge of the support and the resources that are available,” said Executive Director Curtis Eberts.

That way, the bonds can continue to grow like any tomato in the garden.​

If you want to learn more about this program or join in, call the Monroe Police Department at (318) 329-2600.

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