According to the Boston Police Departments official Facebook Page Friday, March 13, 2015, officers from the Boston Police Department Command Staff, Youth Violence Strike Force, and Community Service offices from various districts joined Teen Empowerment for a youth open mic night meant to encourage unity and dialog within Boston communities. The house was packed while many teens and BPD officers showcased their talents onstage singing, dancing, rapping and reciting spoke word.
Grubbs, Boston Police Youth Services officer who has been on the force for 30 years climbed on stage to freestyle, “Boston Police up in the building! Holla! We them boys — we makin’ noise — Woop, woop, woop, woop!”
Reporter Evan Allen of the Boston Globe reports that Teen Empowerment is a youth organization focused on improving the community by training young people as community organizers. They hosted the mic night in hopes to improve relations between youth and police.
It seems the effort was a success, police standing by the door to the stage were greeted by performers with high-fives and fist bumps as they exited the stage. “They can actually relate to you,” said gang unit officer Reivilo Degrave, who had the crowd singing along to his rendition of the song “Straight to the Point.”
17-year-old Tiera Perez explains that “Too often interactions between police and teenagers are tense because neither side views the other as being like them. But bring both sides together for an open mic talent show, and suddenly everybody is hugging, clapping and posing for pictures.”
Joseph Harris, Boston Police deputy superintendent hopes that the teens will feel comfortable when they see officers in the community.