Concord Youth Group, Police Meet Up To Bridge Trust Divide

Jun 27, 2018

Four Concord police officers and a group of community members met to share their experiences with policing at Concord Blue and You.
Credit Leila Goldstein/NHPR

Community members and police officers met last night in Concord to share their perspectives in an event called Concord Blue and You.

The American Friends Service Committee and Change for Concord put on the event in collaboration with New Hampshire Listens, an initiative of the University of New Hampshire.

Last year, local youth organizer Ayi D’Almeida started Change for Concord, a youth group primarily made up of young immigrants. In meetings with the group, he noticed a mistrust of the Concord police department.

“People felt like they can't really trust the department. And I felt like, OK, this could be an opportunity to bring the community members and law enforcement together,” D’Almeida said.

John Thomas, a lieutenant with the Concord Police Department, attended the event. He says it’s especially important to foster a relationship with new immigrants and the refugee community.

“A lot of these folks are coming from war-torn countries where a person in uniform really to them was the bad guy. They’re coming in with different culture, we wanted to learn their culture,” Thomas said.

Organizers say they'll continue to host Blue and You events around the state.