facebok9018 instrgram2108 linkedin_2018
 twitter2018 pintrist_2019 youtube2018










Cops & Kids: Working Together for Peace on the Streets


Background & Purpose

Background and Purpose of Program

This program, created 25 years ago in response to LA’s civil unrest, is a collaborative effort between CRF and the LAPD. The program has proven effective in increasing student knowledge about law enforcement and due process rights and in improving police attitudes towards young people and young peoples’ attitudes toward police.

In a series of simulation models and role play, students had an opportunity to experience law enforcement from the point of view of police, suspects, and witnesses. By giving a realistic picture of the challenges faced by officers, the simulation helps students better understand the daily demands of police work. By using actual law enforcement officers as resources, young people and police interact in a positive learning environment.

Student and officers participated in a pre-and-post-survey that focused on attitudinal changes. Results from prior surveys have demonstrated dramatic attitudinal changes in both students and officers. Survey results are available upon request.

Research indicates that the most significant predictor of negative attitudes about the police is previous negative interaction. Not surprisingly, positive interactions with the police serve as the most common factor in the development of positive attitudes. Research in the areas of delinquency prevention and the development of pro-social values among youth offers guidance about what kinds of police-youth contacts are most effective. They include those that help young people develop significant relations with officers that are integrated into a child’s educational development; and those that provide students with a realistic and balanced presentation of the role officers play in society and in their communities. Drawing on these findings, CRF developed the Cops & Kids conference model and the Youth and the Police 10-lesson curriculum.

A typical conference provides students and officers with two workshop sessions. In Session One they participate in Police Patrol, in Session Two, the officers facilitate a guided discussion that provides students an opportunity to express their views about issues of police/community relations and public safety in their own neighborhoods. The session ends with a brainstorm activity asking students and officers to explore activities and service-learning projects for youth to do to improve public safety in their own schools and communities.

Conference Goals

  • Establish positive, open lines of communication between youth and law enforcement officers.
  • Educate students about the challenges of police work and the scope and limits of police authority.
  • Provide students and officers with a forum to discuss their differences and begin to address any negative perceptions and stereotypes.
  • Provide an opportunity for officers to gain a better understanding about the lives young people they serve and their perceptions about law enforcement, crime, and safety in their communities.
  • Allow students and officers the opportunity to work together to identify attitudinal, behavioral, and action goals they can work toward to improve police-community relations.

Over 10,000 middle grades students have participated in Cops & Kids events in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Rhode Island, Chicago, and Arizona. In Los Angeles, special sessions for parents have been added to the conference. In a separate breakout room, parents participate in the Police Patrol simulation with officers, using the same methods as the students. Parents are then invited to join student sessions to observe the discussions between students and officers. This parent component has provided schools with a and the police department with an outreach to involve parents in their children’s education and to involve them as citizens in the community.

All participants surveyed before and after the conference to gauge attitudinal changes and knowledge gained. Past survey results indicate that the conference provides students, parents, and officers with a unique experience to begin to establish positive lines of communication and develop a deeper understanding of each other. Results also demonstrate students and parents gain a more sophisticated knowledge about the role of police in society, the scope and limits of police authority, and an appreciation of the challenges officers face.

Special thanks to Los Angeles Police Department and Latham & Watkins LLP.


On April 28, 2017, more than 400 students from Berendo Middle School, Hollenbeck Middle School, Los Angeles Academy Middle School and TEACH Academy joined 40 LAPD officers at the LA Police Academy/Elysian Park for the re-launch of the Cops & Kids program sponsored by the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) with generous support from the Morrison & Foerster Foundation.

View ABC7 News Coverage



2017 Spring Dinner


This program is made possible by a generous grant from the Morrison & Foerster Foundation.