Society & Culture

Athens to hold ‘Blue and You’ police-community forum to foster dialogue

Athens, Ga. – Athens-area youths ages 12-19, their parents and caregivers and representatives from local youth development organizations are invited to participate in an upcoming Blue and You Police-Community Forum. The forum is designed to foster dialogue between youths and members of the local law enforcement community.

A reception will be held Friday, April 8, from 6-8 p.m. at the University of Georgia School of Social Work, 279 Williams St., to recognize sponsors and participants. The Blue and You Police-Community Forum will be Saturday, April 9, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Athens, 705 Fourth St.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided to participants. Please text 706-229-6266 to reserve breakfast and lunch.

“This forum is an excellent way for the youth of our community to become involved in shaping the community’s relationship with local law enforcement,” said Derrick Floyd, director of operations for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Athens. “We are excited to hear their perspectives and thoughts on ways we can improve police-community relations in Athens.”

The purpose of the forum is to facilitate a discussion between local youths and local law enforcement agencies that leverages the national conversation on the current state of police-community relations in order to identify opportunities to enhance the relationship between the public and the police. The ultimate goals of the forum are to improve communications, enhance understanding and encourage a better working relationship between youths of the Athens-Clarke County community with local law enforcement agencies.

“The forum will allow officers to engage with our youth in a positive manner,” said Lt. Reggie Wade of the Athens-Clarke County Police Department. “It provides an opportunity for youth and the police to get a better understanding of each other. … Let’s continue to work together in an effort to make Athens-Clarke County a better community for individuals to live, work and visit. Our department will always stand ready to support our youth in doing what is just and ethical for themselves and our community.”

Delene Porter of the UGA Fanning Institute for Leadership Development agrees, adding, “I believe this event will strengthen a positive, inclusive, safe culture for the youth and police of our community to learn from each other. I’m especially excited that youth will be helping facilitate the dialogue and develop their leadership and community engagement skills.”

The event is being facilitated by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Athens; Chess and Community; Community Connection of Northeast Georgia; Delta Psi Boulé of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity Inc.; Flanigan’s Portrait Studio; UGA Office of Institutional Diversity; UGA School of Public and International Affairs; UGA School of Social Work; Athens-Clarke County Police Department; Clarke County Sheriff’s Office; UGA Police Department; Clarke County School District Police; and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity’s Grand Commission on Young African-American Males.

For more information, contact Brian N. Williams in the UGA department of public administration and policy at 706-542-7816 or