July 18, 2017
MPD’s Summer Youth Academy Making a Difference in the Community One Child at a Time
(Washington, DC) – “I joined the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to make a difference in how police officers interact with communities of color, to change the stigmas about police officers in these communities, and to be a voice for those who feel they are voiceless,” said Sergeant Michael Jones who has been with the Department for twelve years and currently works for MPD’s Youth and Family Services Division (YFSD). For the past three years, Sgt. Jones has managed MPD’s Summer Youth Academy, in conjunction with and under the supervision of Lieutenant Sabrina Sims.
The Summer Youth Academy is a summer camp where MPD members provide opportunities for the District’s school-aged youth to enjoy an educational, fun-filled, and safe summer. This year, Sgt. Jones has enlisted help from various schools and community organizations around the city to engage youth in activities.
“We take a field trip every Friday and we go swimming every Tuesday and Thursday. This year we plan to enjoy a Nationals game and a fishing trip at the Earth Conservation Corps Pump House,” said Sgt. Jones. “Partnerships with area schools and the Police Foundation play an integral role in assisting us with opportunities to visit sporting venues and more.”
This year the camp kicked off on June 26th and runs until August 4th. Just as they have done in previous years, Lt. Sims, Sgt. Jones, and their team look forward to making a difference in the communities they serve.
“I want to project the idea that success is attainable to youth who live in underprivileged communities, since I grew up in similar circumstances,” said Sgt. Jones who, while at MPD, was able to complete his undergraduate degree in Psychology and his graduate degree in Safety Security Leadership (Public Safety/Homeland Security). “I want to empower them to take control of their futures.”
The camp is broken down into a total of four classrooms with several officers assigned to each classroom. The classrooms are then divided by age groups; 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, and 11-13. Sgt. Jones’ role as the supervisor is to find a space to operate the camp, create a daily schedule of activities and events, ensure the kids have food, transportation and much more.
“Camps can be so expensive sometimes. This camp is important because it gives parents a free, fun, and safe alternative for their kids during summer,” said Jones. “This camp also continues the work of breaking down barriers between underserved communities and police officers, fueling lifetime bonds and negating stereotypes.”
MPD’s YFSD is responsible for investigating child abuse and neglect, juvenile missing persons, internet crimes against children, processing juvenile arrestees, locating youth in abscondence, and youth outreach initiatives.
Parents can find out more about next year’s Summer Youth Academy by visiting or calling the YFSD at 202-576-6768. There are 75 slots available each year. Other summer opportunities for youth in the community include Beat the Streets, the Junior Police Academy Summer Program, STARS Teen Camp Program, and National Night Out. For more information on these summer initiatives go to: https://mpdc.dc.gov/page/summer-metropolitan-police-department