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NYPD female mentorship program forges lifelong bonds between officers, young women

“I establish trust by being consistent, starting with a phone call, visiting their schools, going to events – it’s about consistency.”


Photo/Twitter via NYPD

By Ashley Silver

NEW YORK – NYPD Chief of Patrol Juanita Holmes is helping foster lifelong bonds between young girls and female police officers in the city through her innovative “Girl Talk” community outreach program.

TODAY’s Hoda Kotb recently spoke with Holmes, officers and teens participating in the program to share their experiences. During the sit-down, one detective touched on how she managed to build such a strong connection with the young girls in the “Girl Talk” program.

“I establish trust by being consistent with them, starting with a phone call, visiting their schools, taking them on certain events that we host. It just starts like that,” Detective Tanya Duhaney told TODAY. “It’s about consistently being there during events that impact their lives.”

One of the participants, 21-year-old Renee Alexander, discussed the impact Duhaney had over her life as a mentor.

“I was received with open arms,” Alexander said. “When I first saw her (Duhaney), I didn’t see the suit. I saw that smile. Now, we share our stories like a sisterhood.”

Alexander is now in the process of applying to the police academy so she can make a similar impact on young women, according to TODAY.

Chief Juanita Holmes created the “Girls Talk” program but is no stranger to setting a precedent. Holmes is the NYPD’s first named woman chief of patrol and is now the first woman to oversee New York’s police training academy. However, she told TODAY she considers this outreach program her greatest achievement and touched on how the mentorship idea came to fruition.

“I would be working during the wee hours of the morning and see 13-year-old girls out and ask them what they were doing out alone that late at night,” Holmes told TODAY. “Part of public safety is helping to change lives, not just fighting crime. I think it started there.”

The “Girl’s Talk” program has since become a positive movement across the city.

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