New program that the Key West Police Department will be offering aimed at the youth of Key West

A prayer breakfast on Saturday was the genesis of a new program that the Key West Police Department will be offering aimed at the youth of Key West. With the help of the attendees, Police Chief Donie Lee formulated a new program that will help kids understand why police do what they do. Similar to the adult’s Citizens Police Academy, the program will help kids understand their own rights and foster relationships with the police.


Chief Lee was invited to Cornish AME Zion Church’s Prayer Breakfast by Pastor Rochelle Pearson-Major to talk about police relations and the community. Attendees included members of the community, youth and several local pastors. He focused his talk to the youth in attendance and the way in which Key West Police officers interact with member of the community.


Chief Lee, who was born and raised in Key West, stressed the importance he places on hiring local men and women to the Department. They know the community and have a better understanding of the challenges of policing Key West. He also pointed out that it’s vital to hire black men and women to better reflect the demographics of the city that we serve. He explained the process of becoming a sworn officer, and talked about the way the Explorers program exposes local high school students to the role and duties of being an officer. It gives them some important life skills, whether or not they become police officers. Discipline, accountability and communications skills are vital to becoming well-rounded adults.


Lee noted that one of the important aspects of attaining a career in law enforcement is making good decisions at a school-age level. Lee emphasized that “knowledge is power” and graduating from high school is critical to a fulfilling adult life.


Lee stressed the fact that he holds his officers accountable and expects that the officers are respectful and professional in each encounter. He reiterated the Department’s core values of Respect, Integrity, Fairness and Service. And those core values, he said, are the key to a good relationship between the community and its police department.


The Youth Citizen’s Police Academy programming is underway and, once the dates and details are established, the Department will reach out to the community youth to participate.

[livemarket market_name="KONK Life LiveMarket" limit=3 category=“” show_signup=0 show_more=0]