Retired Atlanta police officer leads youth program at local hair salons to strengthen community ties

Retired Atlanta police officer leads youth program at local hair salons to strengthen community ties

By Joanna Putman

ATLANTA — A program started by a retired police officer aims to reduce crime by bringing police and at-risk children together in hair salons, CBS News reported.

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According to the report, Tyrone Dennis founded the nonprofit Clippers and Cops in 2018 after serving in Atlanta’s gang unit for 10 years.

“We can’t solve some of these problems with arrests. We can’t keep doing the same things. And that’s fundamentally what Clippers and Cops is about, something different,” Dennis told CBS. “We’re not saying that’s the solution, but that’s what we decided to do to try to make a difference.”

Dennis said they discuss topics such as decision-making, goal-setting, traffic stops and prison, with the goal of improving interactions between youth and law enforcement. The organization operates not only in barbershops but also in classrooms, having visited more than 50 schools in Georgia, Missouri and Tennessee, according to the report.

Programs like Clippers and Cops aim to build trust and foster a sense of community, and can reduce crime by up to 22%, according to the Atlanta Police Department.

“That’s what kids need to see, people who look like me, who can do, who will do and who are willing to do for me,” Clippers and Cops contestant Ingrid Simone told CBS.