At a time when relations between police officers and the communities they serve are strained, a community policing program, which started in Miami in 1990, is helping to bridge the gap as it celebrates its 25th year in operation.
Do The Right Thing, Inc. (DTRT) is a national, not-for-profit organization operating in cooperation with local law enforcement to recognize and reward young people for their positive behavior, accomplishments, and good deeds. The program can be implemented in any community, large or small, and works to bring cops and kids together in a positive versus negative interaction.
Currently, Do The Right Thing has 59 chapters in the United States and four abroad in England and Germany. All chapters are patterned after the Miami-Dade County initiative which serves school-age youths through an online nomination process in conjunction with the local public school system as well as private schools. Miami students who are nominated for "doing the right thing" are awarded DTRT T-shirts, bumper stickers, certificates of recognition, and letters of congratulations signed by the chief of police. Ten top winners are honored at police headquarters by the chief of police with prizes ranging from mini-tablets and plaques to trips to Washington, D.C. Nominations run the gamut from turning in a dollar found on the playground to turning in a loaded gun found on school grounds.
Do The Right Thing's national headquarters are located at the City of Miami Police Department in downtown Miami. The program charges a one-time fee of $500 to any police agency interested in starting a chapter. The fee covers the rights to the trademarked name and logo as well as training materials and staff consultation to set up the program in other communities nationwide.
For law enforcement agencies interested in starting a chapter, please contact DTRT Executive Director Jodi Atkison at 305-579-3344 or go to the website at http://dotherightthinginc.org/national-chapters/.