Indiana Daily Student

Community center works with police to connect with citizens

The Banneker Community Center, located on 930 W. Seventh St. will host a self-defense class taught by the Bloomington Police Department on Oct. 5 from 6 to 8 p.m.
The Banneker Community Center, located on 930 W. Seventh St. will host a self-defense class taught by the Bloomington Police Department on Oct. 5 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Bloomington police are teaching self-defense and showing their specialized K-9, Dive and SWAT teams to Bloomington residents and teens next week. BPD is working with the Banneker Community Center and at a new event called Blue 
and You.

The event will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 5 at Banneker Community Center, located on 930 W. Seventh St.

Several of BPD’s specialized units will be at the event, including the dive team, police dog Ike and the Critical Incident Response Team. BPD Lt. Brad Seifers said the event was a part of a community outreach movement in the department.

These units will all be in attendance, along with regular Bloomington officers. Elm Street will be closed between Seventh and Eighth streets so that the specialized units can set up their equipment for community members.

BPD will also provide some basic training in defense tactics for anyone interested in learning at the event.

Police officers will be there to answer any questions or concerns that the community might have about police policies or 
procedures.

“It is going to be very low-impact self-defense moves.” Kellams said. “Just opportunities for the officers to interact with the teens.”

Over the summer, the center provides free, healthy food and activities for children. A Family Resource Center is also located on the third floor of the Banneker building, which allows families and kids to read, listen to music 
and more.

The community center also runs the after-school program at Fairview. Leslie Brinson, the facility and program coordinator, said they work with BPD at Fairview in order to help more at risk children in that area of Bloomington.

Banneker Community Center opened in 1915 as a school for African-American children but was purchased by Bloomington Parks and Recreation in 1957 to act as a community center. Since then the center has tried to provide the community with a safe area to enjoy, 
Brinson said.

Brinson said that the community center has been communicating with BPD for several months on improving connections with youth.

“It’s a way to move that process along,” Brinson said.

While Banneker Center is devoted to after school and evening events for children, Blue and You will be open to the public and free to attend.

Kellams said that drinks and refreshments will be provided by local businesses, but BPD is still looking for interested businesses.

Attendees will also have the chance to meet members of BPD’s Explorers program.

Explorers is a group formed by BPD in 2015 and is designed to help young men and women, 14 to 20 years old, who are interested in law enforcement careers “explore” the field and see what actual police 
officers do.

These explorers learn basic skills like First Aid, CPR, firearm training and defensive training, all of which community members can ask about at Banneker Center on Oct. 5.

Brinson said that she thought that Blue and You was a good way for the center to show community members their own facilities at Banneker as well.

“It’s a great way to bring community members to the center,” Brinson said.

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