They Walk the Talk

May 6, 2011 Mobius, News

Photo courtesy of the Burlington Police Department

Burlington Police officers have first-hand knowledge of the plight of children in our community who need role models, who need mentors. They are taking a pro-active approach to building a safer community by becoming mentors.  “Among our most important work is education and prevention,” says Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling.  “We are currently working with the Queen City Police Foundation on reinvigoration of the historic Police Activity League for youth.   Mentoring is a logical extension of those efforts.”

Members of the BPD at a mentor training session. Photo by Marissa Wilkens

In March and April Mobius trained 16 officers and staff members of the BPD.  They will be referred to mentoring programs that serve the North End, Downtown, and the South End.  Mobius will train more members of the Burlington Police Department in the coming months.

Chief Schirling says that he and other members of the force could identify youth who are at risk of extensive criminal justice system involvement and even prison if there is not some intervention to direct those kids out of the cycle of poverty and risky behavior.  “We are hopeful that this will create an opportunity to positively impact youth that may be at risk or in difficult circumstance, and that it will build trust between the Department and both youth, and the community as a whole.  We’re also hopeful that positive mentor-mentee relationships, both with our staff and other mentors, will encourage kids and give them the tools necessary to be successful and active members of our community.”

Dealing with crime and recidivism on a daily basis could make law enforcement professionals cynical, so it is really inspiring to see the commitment from Chief Schirling and the BPD to proactively work toward a more promising future for the young people of Burlington.

The Queen City Police Foundation will honor two members of the community who exemplify an ongoing dedication to working closely with youth, the Burlington Police Department and the greater Burlington community to encourage public safety.  They will present the Antonio B. Pomerleau Medal of Honor and the Community Hero Award at the Queen City Police Foundation Benefit Breakfast on May 20.

Do you know someone who works to help make a difference for young people?  We’d love to hear about them.