Negative youth-police relations are an issue that has plagued the Rochester, NY community for decades. Teen Empowerment is committed to helping change the relational negativity, and build positive partnerships between these two groups. The organization believes that youth-police dialogues are the bridge to improving youth-police relations, which will in turn build stronger communities. The information in this thesis tests whether youth-police dialogues are essential to improving the youth-police relationship. The Methodology for my evaluation included a pre and post survey for Teen Empowerment’s youth organizers and participating police officers. Surveys were completed for the Phase I and Phase II dialogue sessions of the implemented program. Analysis of survey results focus group outcomes, and interview outcomes all point to positive consequences from the Youth-Police Dialogues. There were evident shifts in some measures on the surveys showing that participants gained empathy, understanding, and respect. Focus groups revealed some tangible changes in behavior among both officers and youth that indicate they gained new perspectives as well as new skills for how to work together effectively. The policy implications for this research for contemporary youth-police relations include the need for more dialogue sessions, integrating non-dialogue activities, such as sports, or volunteer opportunities, to help the group bond. It would also be beneficial to have youth and officers who are considered to be a problem to each respective group (i.e. bad cops, bad youth).

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Police services for juveniles--New York (State)--Rochester; Police--New York (State)--Rochester--Public opinion; Youth--New York (State)--Rochester--Attitudes

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Criminal Justice (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Department of Criminal Justice (CLA)


John M. Klofas

Advisor/Committee Member

Laverne McQuiller-Williams

Advisor/Committee Member

John McCluskey


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at HV8079.25 .F54 2015


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes