In winter and spring of 2019, David Douglas High School students and law enforcement officers from five local police agencies participated in an eight-session focus group relationship building activity. For 90 minutes at each session, students and officers had face-to-face conversations around difficult topics and how they have been personally impacted or affected. Some topics included were fear, power, and perspective taking; participants had a variety of activities to engage them in the conversation, all facilitated by a George Fox University Doctoral Candidate of Forensic Psychology, Ms. Megan Church. While the conversation was often challenging, students and officers were able to build authentic relationships during their focus group time by learning about each other at a face-to-face level. The finest outcome was the realization that they are more alike than different!
The most unique part of these focus groups is that the research is original and is being used for Ms. Church’s dissertation, and will also be published in academic journals.
Thank you to our student participants at David Douglas High School and all of our law enforcement participants from Portland Police Bureau, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon Health Sciences University Police, Port of Portland Police, and Oregon State Police.
What’s next for our Focus Groups?
Face-to-Face Portland is working on creating a way to duplicate these focus groups that can be implemented by facilitators in other schools and youth organizations anywhere in the country. While Face-to-Face Portland’s current focus is in the Portland/Metro area, the research that we gather from the focus groups is invaluable as we continue to serve our vision of Trust Between Police and All Communities.
Would you like to help?
We need your help to make our focus groups work in our community! Please contact us if you’d like to help at Amy@facetofacepdx.org or 503.318.3582
- Are you a member of an organization who has professional facilitators (either paid of volunteer) and would like to participate in implementing focus groups?
- Would you like to donate to support the Focus Group program? Financial donations help fund incentives, snacks for participants, and other materials necessary for success.
- Are you part of a youth organization and would like to discuss participation in our focus groups?
- Do you have other ideas for helping us be successful in connecting cops with high school students? Let us know!