COPS AND KIDS AT BETHEL AME
Several members of the Fontana Police Officers Association were guests of the Bethel AME Church and Rev. Francine Brookins.
The off-duty officers sat down for lunch and a “get to know you” with the young people of the Bethel AME parish.
“We are continually building positive relationships with everyone in Fontana especially the young people who are the future of our city,” Andrew Vestey president of the POA said.
The program began with the officers explaining what they were like at ages 14-16. Then the kids shared who they are at 14-16. The Bethel AME kids are really impressive.
Over the past few years there has been so much misunderstanding about the relationship between police and young people and particularly with African-American kids.
“We felt it was important to get to know each other,” Vestey remarked. “If you don’t have communication you cannot build trust and without trust you cannot successfully communicate. We were building both.”
The Fontana POA often says its focus is to help make Fontana a better place to live, work and play. The outreach to youth is an example of the POAs effort to collaborate and work together toward good relationships, understanding and a healthy Fontana.
One of the officers said, “We always want to give back to the community but this time they gave us so much more. They are certainly great kids.”
Mayor Acquanetta Warren helped facilitate the get together and graciously attended the event. Everyone really enjoyed the experience and the terrific meal provided by the parish. Pastor Brookins summed up the experience as “a Fresh Encounter.”