It’s always a positive sign when teenagers become actively engaged and involved in their communities, which is exactly what happened recently in Dayton, Ohio. Inspired by a 70-page pamphlet created by Richard Biehl several years ago that addresses how to “talk and work with police,” teens in Montgomery County have produced a new guide that makes things easier for the end reader to understand.
Beihl, who is Dayton’s Police Chief, felt that the only way to bridge the gap between police and teens who are skeptical of their authority was to properly educate them and let them know that police aren’t the “bad guys” who abuse their powers.
While Beihl’s original pamphlet was popular, the newest version is receiving rave reviews in the community. The new pamphlet, which was written in partnership with the local police department, also sheds light on the most common issues that arise between teens and police, as well as things like cyberbullying, sexting and hate crimes. Confusing police terms were removed and replaced with content that makes sense to younger demographics. Long blocks of text were replaced with bullet points, which is easier for teens to read and digest.
Kairun Kelly, who works with the Young Adults Focus Council 4 Young Adults, feels that the most important information presented in the guide is how to behave if arrested, since most teenagers are not familiar with the appropriate way of talking to a police officer.
“If you really reach this to the right crowd and to the right people and get it out there, then this can really help reduce the crime level around this area,” she added.
Over five thousand pamphlets have already been printed, and due to its success thus far, the group is now looking to write another pamphlet, which will be written for students in middle school.