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'Reverse' ride-along program sends Cleveland police recruits into the community

A class of new police recruits meeting with community members at The Keratin Barber College
Drew Maziasz
Ideastream Public Media
Inner Visions, a Cleveland nonprofit, takes new police recruits on 'reverse' ride-alongs to places like a barber shop in the Lee-Harvard neighborhood.

A common practice for police departments across the country is to offer a ride-along with an officer. It’s often used to help illustrate the unique challenges police officers face in their day-to-day work.

But there’s a program that began in 2017 in Cleveland that puts police officers in the passenger's seat, for what's called a “reverse" ride-along.

The program takes new police recruits to several locations across the city in order to have them more fully understand the community they’ll soon be serving. Those locations vary from everything from a center for women experiencing addiction, to a barber college.

Tuesday on the “Sound of Ideas,” we’ll learn about the “reverse" ride-along program with the founders. We’ll also hear from community members who are meeting the recruits, and a potential officer will share what they learned from the program.

Prior to that conversation, we’ll talk about the recent mass shooting that happened in Cleveland’s Warehouse District on July 9.

Downtown business owners have said they are concerned about the violence impacting their businesses. The city’s politicians have been at odds over how to address the uptick in crime Cleveland is experiencing this year.

- Michael Deemer, President and CEO, Downtown Cleveland, Inc.
- Abbey Marshall, Cleveland Reporter, Ideastream Public Media
- Jan Thorpe, Founder and Director, Inner Visions of Cleveland
- Joe Black, Program Manager for Racial Equity and Racial Justice Initiatives, The Cleveland Foundation
- Kelly Rice, Owner, The Keratin Barber College
- Eilish Counts, Clinical Director, Hitchcock Center for Women
- James Ortells, Cleveland Police Recruit

Drew Maziasz is a coordinating producer for the "Sound of Ideas" and also serves as the show’s technical producer.