APD Youth Leadership Program builds relationships between kids and police

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Tuesday, the Austin Police Department gave KXAN a look inside its Summer Youth Leadership Program.

It’s a five-week program for children who could be considered at risk. Participants learn about a variety of topics, like addressing racism, how to deal with anxiety, becoming effective communicators and even handling finances.

The children are selected to participate in the program for several weeks every summer throughout their middle school and high school years.

“I see law enforcement as a change agent. I think we have the opportunity to impact the minds of young people and also change the stereotypes that are put on law enforcement,” said retired Austin Police Officer Eric Oakmon, who started the program 13 years ago.

Oakman said a number of the people who’ve gone through the program as kids still come back to visit as adults.

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