POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Sheriff Kirk A. Imperati of the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday that his department participated in a new Dutchess County Youth Program that was held in Poughkeepsie the week of March 21. The “Youth and Police Initiative”, or YPI for short, is a training program created by the Massachusetts-based North American Family Institute to enhance police officers’ understanding of the values and beliefs of local youth while ensuring that kids develop a genuine regard for the challenges police officers face on the job.

Objectives of YPI:

  • Enhance officers’ community policing skills.
  • Stengthen officers’ knowledge of the community they serve.
  • Build long-term positive relationships between local police and at-risk youth.

In the new program, members of the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, Dutchess County Probation Department, City of Poughkeepsie Police Department, and New York State Police spoke with officials and at-risk youth, engaged in team building, and took part in role-playing scenarios that allowed all participants to tackle the real and hard issues of crime prevention and community policing. The program will be hosted multiple times throughout Dutchess County in the next 12 months.

Sheriff Imperati said, “Earlier in my career, I served as a DARE Officer and as Coordinator of the Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officer Program. I have witnessed firsthand how positive interactions between police and our youth builds trust and meaningful relationships. As with our School Resource Officer Program and the Dutchess County Deputy Sheriff’s PBA Explorer Post, I strongly support the Youth and Police Initiative and I believe that it provides us with yet another outstanding opportunity to connect with our youths, listen to their thoughts, and concerns, and work collectively to reduce violence and provide safer communities for everyone.”

The YPI program has achieved great success and has been used by law enforcement agencies nationwide since 2003. The program has proven itself to be a successful violence reduction strategy in communities.