Oakland Police Youth Services

The Oakland Police Department (OPD)'s Youth Outreach Unit (YOU) supports a range of programs for children and youth in our city. Some target at-risk young people, or those who may have already taken a wrong step. Others offer opportunities to explore careers in law enforcement and the justice system.

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Oakland Police Activities League
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The OK Program

OPD's Youth Outreach Unit (YOU) sponsors the following programs for young people:

  1. Oakland Police Activity League (PAL)
  2. Oakland Police Explorers
  3. OK (Our Kids)

Oakland Police Activities League PAL

Sub-Bantams racing at the Tommie Smith Youth Track Meet, UC Berkeley

PAL is a program dedicated to offering programs and opportunities for kids to work with positive role models and learn about success and failure without guns and drugs.

There is no cost. Kids (age 5-18) can join and participate in PAL for free.

Where Can I Find a PAL Center?

  • The East Oakland PAL Center is located at 9600 Sunnyside Street, Verdese Carter Park.
  • The West Oakland PAL Center is located at 3131 Union Street, Willie Keys/Poplar Park.

Oakland Police Explorers

The Oakland Police Explorers program is designed for high school students who are at least 14.5 years old and want a chance to see what law enforcement is all about. Explorers get an opportunity to prove themselves and be recognized for their accomplishments. The program’s objectives are those of the Learning for Life Program:

  • Career Opportunities
  • Service Learning
  • Leadership Experience
  • Life Skills
  • Character Education

The Oakland Police Department has participated in Exploring since 1965. Its Explorers Program is considered one of the oldest law enforcement Exploring posts in the Bay Area.

What Do Explorers Do?

Explorers . . .

  • Attend weekly meetings, which include law-enforcement-related instruction and physical training
  • Go on Patrol ride-alongs
  • Participate in Community Services details and Decoy programs
  • Provide support staffing to the PAL youth program
  • Attend local and national Explorer law enforcement conferences and competitions

What Are the Eligibility Requirements?

  • Students must be in high school and at least 14.5 years old
  • Students must have and maintain a grade point average of 2.0 or better
  • Students must have average or better attendance and discipline records.
  • The Explorers program is not a delinquency prevention program. Applicants must be free from felony and serious misdemeanor convictions.

How Can I Apply?

If you are interested in the Explorer Program at the Oakland Police Department, contact the Explorer Advisors:

  • Officer Charles Stone, OPD Explorer Coordinator, @ cstone@oaklandca.gov
  • Officer Jumaal Hill - Oakland PAL, 510-615-5758, oaklandpal@oaklandpal.org

OK (Our Kids)

The OK Program focuses on reducing the high incarceration and homicide rates of African-American young men (12 - 18 years old). Since its inception, no graduate of the OK Program has ever been sentenced to prison or been the victim of a homicide. In fact, the majority of OK graduates have gone on to college, military service, or enroll in vocational training. More significantly, all participants have assumed responsible citizenship roles in their communities.

The mission of the OK Program is to facilitate partnerships between police agencies, educational institutions, students, community members, businesses, and the faith community. The OK Program:

  • Provides needed services to youth who are at high risk of incarceration and homicide (with an intense focus on African-American young men).
  • Promotes economic self-reliance.
  • Encourages responsible citizenship and civic leaders for the 21st Century.

There is no cost. Young men can join and participate in OK for free.

Where Can I Find Out More About the OK Program?

Other YOU Programs

  • Mentor Officers - The Mentor Program is a partnership between the Oakland Unified School District and the Oakland Police Department. The program is designed to address issues through positive interactions with Police such as public safety, crime, social disorder and fear of crime as it relates to our youth. Predesignated Oakland Public School Campuses were selected based on their passion for helping students become successful throughout their academic years and thereafter. The Mentor Officers work with the schools to address issues related to truancy, behavioral problems, criminal behavior, and academic performance. The approach to helping students involves tutoring, counseling, recreation, classroom instruction and accompanying on field trips. Mentors create a partnership with school faculty and parents to discuss intervention strategies and conduct home visits when appropriate. YOU also runs the Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) program. This evidence-based gang and violence prevention program operates at 2-4 Oakland schools with four YOU officer instructors.
  • Reading Partners OaklandAll YOU officers participate in this program throughout the school year at several different campuses. Officers help students with reading and comprehension.
  • Cadet and Explorer Joint Recruitment Effort – The YOU partners with OPD Recruiting several times during the year to promote law enforcement careers. Interested youth have access to information about becoming an OPD Explorer, Cadet or Police Officer Trainee. Visit OPD Cadet Page here.
  • Barber Shop and Coffee with a Cop Forums – The YOU participates in ALL Barber Shop and Coffee with a Cop Forums throughout the City. Our Unit uses these outlets to connect with members of our community and offer real ways to bridge the gaps between media driven perspective of the police and a real relationship. Link to OPD Facebook page on Barber Shop forums.
  • Law Enforcement Pre-Academy Program at Merritt College – The YOU has partnered with this program and facilitates several events throughout the year. This program offers the unique opportunity to get the hands-on training needed for the rigorous police academy. The 13-week program is taught by Howard Jordan, retired Oakland Chief of Police, along with YOU staff and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. Learn more about the program here.
  • YOU Summer Program The YOU provides an extensive summer program in partnership with PAL. We offer between 30 and 40 events every summer. YOU officers work together to facilitate constructive and fun programs and events for children during the summer. Many the children would have no place to go during the summer if not for this program.

  • PAL Campsite Remodel – The YOU has secured over $15,000 in private donations to remodel and upgrade the PAL Campsite in Roberts Park. The YOU Staff have personally been working on this project for over 2 years. Restore Together Oakland has partnered with the YOU and we hope to continue this transformation into the future. The site is currently 80% complete.
  • Youth Open House Program - The YOU brings 30-50 students to the PAB (Police Administration Building 455 7th St.) for approximately 6 hours. A discussion, tour, lunch and role playing occurs. Explorer and Cadet Recruiting also takes place. We attempt about 3 events per month.
  • Clear the Air - The YOU brings 15-30 students to the PAL Campsite in Roberts Park for approximately five hours. A discussion, nature hike, lunch and role playing occurs while around a real campfire. We attempt one event per week.
  • Junior Giants Program - Junior Giants is a free, non-competitive and coed baseball program for youth ages 5-18. Working together with local agencies, families and volunteers, Junior Giants reaches into communities and offers youth a chance to learn the basics of baseball during the summer while also discovering the importance of essential life skills. All equipment and uniforms were donated by the San Francisco Giants. The league requires two officers to coordinate for approx. 4 months per year. OPD is currently 100% responsible for the program. We had approx. 150 kids play ball this summer.

Child Safety

The following publications provide information related to child safety topics.

For more information, please visit the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children website.

Posted: August 31st, 2018 3:44 PM

Last Updated: January 20th, 2021 7:59 PM

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