Menlo Park tonight: Kids get training on safe interactions with police officers


A workshop in Menlo Park on Friday will teach youth and parents about their rights and how to stay safe when interacting with law enforcement officers.

"Vision Quest," an annual workshop hosted by the Crime Prevention Narcotics Drug Education Center, will be held Friday, May 13, at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula clubhouse at 401 Pierce Road in Menlo Park. A free spaghetti dinner and registration will begin at 5 p.m. and remarks will begin around 6:30 p.m.

Event planner Wanda Haynes said educating kids on how to behave around police can reduce injury to youth in minority communities and make law enforcement jobs easier.

"We're very concerned," Laurita Wheeler, a community member who plans to attend the event, said. She mentioned Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy who was shot by the police while holding an Airsoft replica gun on a Cleveland, Ohio, playground.

"That could happen at one of our playgrounds," she said.

Given the national climate, and the frequency of police shootings of unarmed and armed young black and brown men, she said, it's important to help kids know how to stay safe and avoid negative encounters with the police, and, if they are harassed, to legally speak out against such treatment.

Ms. Haynes echoed these sentiments, saying it is important to start with the young and to instruct kids that if police approach you, don't run; tell them your name and be polite, she said.

Giving the keynote talk at the workshop will be Judge LaDoris Cordell, who was the first lawyer to open a practice in East Palo Alto, said Wanda Haynes, the event planner. Ms. Cordell has been a dean at Stanford Law School, a Superior Court judge, a member of the Palo Alto City Council and an independent police auditor in San Jose.

Remarks will be given by Menlo Park Police Commander William Dixon and Shawn Graham, a motivational speaker.

Friday's event will be the 18th annual "Vision Quest" seminar, and the third consecutive year that the remarks will focus on safe interactions with police officers. Last year's keynote address was given by the mother of Oscar Grant, an unarmed black man who was shot in 2009 at Oakland's Fruitvale Station by a white police officer.

The Crime Prevention Narcotics Drugs Education Center was founded in the 1960s by pastor Hattie L. Bostic, then run by her son, Bishop Teman L. Bostic, who died in February.

Ms. Haynes said there will be a moment of silence in Bishop Bostic's honor. Even though he is gone, she said, "We're still working. The crime prevention center is thriving. We want the community to know."

Youth from ages 9 to 25 who attend will be entered to win door prizes including laptops and tablets.

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2 people like this
Posted by Robert Cronin
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 14, 2016 at 12:29 am

Thanks to this country's gun culture, the police have to assume that everybody is armed. So, drop anything in your hands. It might be mistaken for a gun. Put your hands up and hope that's enough.

1 person likes this
Posted by Another view
a resident of another community
on May 14, 2016 at 9:16 am

Thanks to this country's policies and practices with police (killing a citizen is justified pretty much on any basis of fear a police officer an articulate, whether or not his life is realistically in danger), drop anything in your hands. It might be mistaken for a gun. Put your hands up and hope that's enough.

1 person likes this
Posted by Hope and Change
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 14, 2016 at 11:03 am

Pretty sad, that the word HOPE is so important with modern day police interactions.

>>> hope that's enough

It's slowly changing, thanks to hard work, and 'assists' from social media and camera phones. Time for bodycams. Always on. We're paying you to carry a gun and order folks around? Always on.

Bless those involved with this event.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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