Boys & Girls club president works to improve relationship betwee - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Boys & Girls club president works to improve relationship between youth, law enforcement

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Boys and Girls Club of Greater Memphis President Keith Blanchard plans to improve the relationship between the city's youth and law enforcement. (Source: WMC Action News 5) Boys and Girls Club of Greater Memphis President Keith Blanchard plans to improve the relationship between the city's youth and law enforcement. (Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

Tensions sometimes run high between youth and law enforcement. One Memphian, who understands both sides of the issue, is finding a way to improve the relationship.

Examples of the tensions include the large disturbances at Memphis malls around Christmas in 2016.

"Law enforcement's job is not to raise your children," Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings said. "I'm going to say that again. It's not our job to raise your children."

As a former police officer, Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis President Keith Blanchard understands both sides of this sometimes complicated relationship.

"I sit in the middle," Blanchard said. "I see kind of both sides of some of the challenges and some of the struggles we're going through right now."

Blanchard went to Washington D.C. to learn how to improve it. He found out many of the problems stem from a lack of familiarity.

"I would love to have a formalized police activities league," Blanchard said. "And have police officers stationed in our clubs working with our kids."

This way Memphis youth will see them as real people, not just as someone with a gun and a badge.

He said youth need to play their part too. This includes having them participate in role-playing events.

"The kids begin to see the challenges the police officers face," he said.

So that, as with Blanchard, each can see the perspective of the other.

"I think we need to continue to bridge those gaps," Blanchard said.

Then both sides can understand they are more alike than they may have thought. 

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