In response to worldwide protests and police brutality crises, a Gary police sergeant facilitated a discussion with a youth group.
Recently, Sgt. Kerry Rice Sr. of the Gary Police Department volunteered to speak with the teenage participants of Men of Vision and Excellence (M.O.V.E.), a male mentoring group based in Gary, Ind.
“Sgt. Rice reached out to me to see if there was a way to gather some youth to talk about recent events, what’s happening in the nation and about local law enforcement,” said Patrick Barry, founder of M.O.V.E.
During the discussion, Rice assured participants about the department’s relationship with the community.
“With everything that’s going on, I don’t want them to be scared right now,” said Rice. “I wanted to assure them that we intend to maintain a good relationship with the citizens of Gary.”
Two 15-year-old participants, Gianni Iacovacci and LeAmonte Street both gained a new perspective about police officers.
“It makes me feel like there are some good cops out there,” said Street. “We just have to give them a chance to make an impression because every cop is not the same.”
Iacovacci discussed how grateful he was for the opportunity to speak with an officer and learn about their jobs.
“I feel like it was a good experience because it lets us know that we have cops who are on our side,” he said. “The information he gave us was pretty helpful about interacting with officers. We also learned a lot about how stressful their jobs can be.”
Rice emphasized the importance of staying informed about policies and being involved with policy change.
“Ignorance about the system never brings change,” he said. “I advised them to be aware of their surroundings and what steps they need to take in order to see change. I wanted them to get a basic understanding about how to actively bring change in the community.”
Following the meeting, the participants were invited by the sergeant to attend the upcoming police commission meetings.
“The men of MOVE will be attending police commission meetings in the future and begin to advocate for better policing,” said Barry. “As well as advocating for more resources to help police, such as ongoing training after graduation for the police academy, better health care and speedy access to mental health services.”
Founded in 2015, Men of Vision and Excellence (M.O.V.E.) is a male mentoring group, dedicated to leading young men to maximize their life’s potential through mentoring, altruism, leadership and entrepreneurship. For more information call 218-488-4227, email [email protected] or visit www.mrbigthirsty.com/mentoring.html.