Local Group Works To Bring Youth And Police Together
Long before George Floyd’s death one local group has been working to build relationships between city youth and police according to WIVB-TV.
F.A.T.H.E.R.S. has been supporting inner-city kids for 20 years now.
The program has been headed by Leonard Lane and F.A.T.H.E.R.S. works with police in Amherst and Cheektowaga, as well as Buffalo.
Captain Steve Nichols has worked with Lane to build trust, but they both realize there are ebbs and flows to any relationship.l
“Now we want to try to build that relationship up again so that the community can feel safe again, so the community can feel that they can be trusted again,” Lane said.
Captain Nichols was born and raised in Buffalo’s Lower West Side, and has always felt compelled to connect with others.
“I actually started getting involved as a police officer while I was a lieutenant, and even before that. When I was on patrol here in the C District, I really started getting involved, and we started doing ice cream sundae giveaways, and just socializing, and just trying to meet people and get to know people,” Nichols said.
Nichols says the Buffalo Police Department under Commissioner Byron Lockwood has a number of ongoing programs that work on community trust.
Lane would like to see more officers out of their cars interacting on the streets.
Neither of the leaders involved in this effort wants police officers and black men all painted with the same brush, so they continue to work to build bridges to empathy and understanding.
“We can’t do it alone,” Nichols said. “We have to do it as a team.”