Shanita Foster, a Chicago police officer for 20 years, said she works daily to build bridges between the community and the police, especially in black and brown communities.
“We need a better relationship with the police,” she said. “Most neighborhoods you go to, they’re afraid of the police.”
The veteran police officer started a youth outreach program called the Neighborhoods Uniting Kids in Excellence after her cousin was killed in 2016 and then launched Bridging the Gap during the pandemic, hoping to impact the community positively. Establish trust.
“Our goal is for the officers to work with the kids because we want them to be able to break the ice and communicate,” she said. “We are not here to hurt or harm you. We are here to serve you.”
Since its inception, Officer Foster has partnered with the Community Police Relations Foundation to engage youth in everything from basketball nights to boxing and skating in the city. This effort aims to unite officers and children to strengthen and foster relationships.
“We have officials who play basketball here. We’re people just like you,” she said. “We want it to be at home just like you, and we want you to feel safe around it. “