Operation Conversation: Cops & Kids

Operation Conversation: Cops & Kids (OCCK) is an innovative police–community relations model program run by ASP in partnership with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and the Newark Police Division (NPD). This award-winning program uses performance, improvisation and conversation to help inner-city teenagers and police officers build trust and improve their relationship.

In 2015, ASP and the NYPD were awarded the 2015 IACP and Cisco Community Policing Award from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) for OCCK.

This program is located in

"I have long said that bringing the police and the communities we serve together requires that we see each other for who we are. Operation Conversation: Cops & Kids helps make this happen. When police officers and inner-city youth perform together, each sees the other through new eyes. Barriers fall and trust rises. The NYPD is striving to make this happen through a range of new initiatives, but our collaboration with the All Stars Project remains one of the best partnerships we have for helping cops and kids realize that they have more in common than they think."
- William J. Bratton, former Police Commissioner, NYPD

Cops & Kids uses the power of performance to create a new kind of relationship.

At the heart of OCCK are community workshops that use performance, improvisational games and conversation to help teenagers and police officers to develop and improve their relationship.

In New York City, ASP leads monthly performance and ensemble-building workshops for at-risk young people referred by NYPD.

In Newark, New Jersey our collaboration with the NPD includes the creation of a curriculum that, in 2023, was used to train every one of their 1,000+ officers – and all future officers – in ASP’s community engagement and performance approach. Additionally, ASP works with partners on hosting community-based workshops and offers a series of Cops & Kids-inspired “Creating Conversations” workshops that bring together New York Jets players and staff, ASP alumni and NPD officers.

“Nothing is more critical to our city and our nation than building a close and working relationship between the police and communities of color. Operation Conversation: Cops & Kids is an important instrument in building that trust. It is a nationally recognized model that is making a profound difference in the lives of young people, our communities and police officers.”
Ras J. Baraka, Mayor of Newark

Operation Conversation: Cops & Kids was first created in 2006 by ASP co-founder, Lenora Fulani, Ph.D., a pioneering developmental psychologist and community activist. In 2011, the NYPD officially incorporated OCCK into the training of its police officers and new recruits. Since the program’s inception, over 10,000 NYPD officers and young people have participated in performance and demonstration workshops throughout New York City. In partnership with Mayor Ras Baraka, the program expanded to Newark in 2016.

“Operation Conversation: Cops & Kids workshops give teens and cops the chance to step outside their usual roles and responses and discover new ways of relating.”
Dr. Lenora Fulani, Founder, Operation Conversation: Cops & Kids

For more information about our Operation Conversation: Cops & Kids program in New York, contact Diane Stiles at dstiles@allstars.org.

For New Jersey: contact Shadae McDaniel at smcdaniel@allstars.org.

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