After concluding that police officers are sometimes too detached from the communities they serve, New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly will start a program of intense training in community relations for police academy cadets, the New York Times reports. New officers would be required to visit gatherings of ethnic organizations and other neighborhood groups. Kelly announced the moves at a session of all 1,100 members of the current academy class to hear from civil rights advocates who have been frequent critics of the police.
The Apollo event, which included role-playing sessions of people in various encounters with the police, was the first of four days of intense community relations training that will be scheduled at the end of each six-month course at the academy. The program is something of a replay for New York: In January 2001, then-police commissioner Bernard Kerik described a sweeping plan to send commanders frequently to community meetings, and to make precinct houses more welcoming to the public by assigning officers as greeters and installing information kiosks. The plan was shelved after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.