Tampa Police Department's RICH House
In 2000, the Tampa Police Department set out to create a safe haven for at risk youth in the community and a place to foster the police and community relationship. With that goal in mind, the Resources In Community Hope or RICH House Program in Sulphur Springs was created. The mission of the program is to reduce crime and enhance the quality of life through cooperative partnerships with all citizens.
Master Patrol Officer Susan Bowers has been a crucial part of the program since its inception and now runs the second RICH house in Robles Park. She says one of her goals is to help the children break the cycle of poverty and crime by getting educated and learning to be productive citizens in the community.
"We help them take a different look at doing their homework and the importance of doing their homework. We also look at the importance of looking at colleges because I believe in the past that idea to them has been unreachable," said MPO Bowers.
MPO bowers says she strongly believes that the program has had a positive impact on the community because it helps them to understand that, while officers do have to enforce the law, it is also a main priority to build relationships with people in the community.
MPO Bowers, has come to be known lovingly as Miss Bowers by the children. She is a strong advocate for education.
"Now I must say we don't play video games or watch a lot of TV here. My biggest focus' are education, socialization, and how to be a productive citizen."
As MPO Bowers nears retirement she says she will be keeping an eye on the program she helped build and hopes to pass it on to someone who has the same passion that she does. She also says she wants to continue to work in the community.
"I envision the community coming together and having a better understanding of what law enforcement does. I am a firm believer without order there is chaos. So I just hope they continue to reach out to the community and build better relationships because one day that could save your life or the life of your fellow officer," said Bowers.
For more information on the Tampa Police Department RICH House visit their website
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