SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCCNEWS)— Syracuse Police Department Office of Community Engagement is bringing author and former Syracuse officer Derrick Dotson to Syracuse city schools and neighborhood groups this week. Authorities say the visits are part of an initiative to improve the relationship between the youth and law enforcement.
Dotson is the author of “The Police and Me,” a children’s book intended to teach children about maintaining respectful relationships with police. Authorities say Dotson plans to discuss his book along with his organization The Black Sanctuary, which is a platform intended to teach citizens to engage safely with law enforcement. Authorities say Dotson founded The Black Sanctuary in 2020 after uses of force incidents became high-profile across the nation. SPD Public Information Specialist Kieran Coffey says that Dotson’s visit will hopefully halt crime rates among city youth.
“We’re seeing obviously a rise in crime, especially in young teenagers, we’re trying to curve that trend,” said Coffey. “Hopefully this is one of the initiatives that we’re taking that will help to curve that trend.”
Authorities say Dotson is set to speak at public schools, community centers, and even with Mayor Ben Walsh. Rachel Simpson, who student-teaches in Syracuse city schools, knows the importance of these relationships firsthand.
“I think where it needs to start,” says Simpson, “Is more open conversation between the law enforcement agencies that are coming to work with the schools.”
Dotson will be in Syracuse from March 28 through April 1.