The Albany Police Gang Unit hosted a Youth Summit at the Albany Civic Center Saturday morning.
The officers reached out to youth and parents to encourage and prevent youth from traveling down the wrong path; a day dedicated to teaching youth that gangs are not the answer, and parents that the answer is listening to your kids
One parent says he took three key items from a speaker that stuck in his mind.
Roger Spicer said, you need to notice their behavior, the clothes that they wear the friends that they hang out with.
Spicer is a parent of three boys and adds he was a former gang member so he knows what can happen and doesn TMt want his boys to go down that path. It took him almost losing a friend to want to change his life. He said, Man I was standing right there when they was wheeling him away to the emergency room he said man I don TMt want to die and when went home that night I began to really really think, I really don't to die that way either.
The Albany Police Gang Unit made sure today was about preventing situations like Spicer's from happening, and motivating and letting the youth know that someone is listening.
Captain Wendy Luster of the APD Gang Unit says, Some positive messages to our youth that may be at that mind frame; well some one isn't listening to me I don't know if I want to go to school or if ill be accepted there. TM
For parents paying attention to the signs like children wanting to drop out is one of the first indicator toward a negative change that could be prevented
Luster adds, There is a reason why a child may not want to go to school we are police officers sometimes we see kids walking the street and they tell us that they're suspended but a parent does not know that that child has been suspended.
Other signs included graffiti or bandana's in the book bag, and with learning the signs came learning how to be a better leader in the community and at home for youth and parents.