‘Reverse Ride-Along’ Takes DC Police Recruits to Chinatown – NBC4 Washington

D.C. police recruits visited senior citizens in Chinatown on Tuesday to learn about Asian American culture ahead of the Lunar New Year.

Their visit to the Wah Luck Adult Day Care Center is a part of the push by the Metropolitan Police Department to build better relationships in the community. The “reverse ride-along” is one of the many lessons the recruits are required to go through before they graduate.

“You can’t protect them if you don’t have a good relationship with them, so having those open ways of communication and not just seeing them when they have a problem is super important,” police recruit Alexandra Salamone said.

The “reverse ride-along” program started in late 2020 amid calls for police reform after the murder of George Floyd.

“The biggest thing is about building these meaningful relationships. I mean, that’s the whole basis of policing. We’re serving the community, we need to know what we can do better to serve the community, and this is what it’s all about,” D.C. Police Inspector David Hong said.

During the visit, recruits helped the seniors with their English lessons.

Some of the seniors at the day care center said language is a barrier. They also said they worry police will not understand them if they are the victim of a crime.

“Police is, like, official; make you feel tense, you’re scared, it’s a power. Now, they feel much more better because we saw police officers can talk to us,” Wah Luck Adult Day Care Center Director Rita Lee said.

The Metropolitan Police Department said it plans to do more programs like this soon. The next one will be in the deaf community, and they hope to do it in all eight wards.

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