ICAN is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year. Twenty-five years of serving Chandler’s most at-risk youth with programs that teach them real-life skills to set a track for their future. We have enjoyed many amazing partnerships over the course of those 25 years, but none quite as special as the one we have with the Chandler Police Department.
Chandler PD was there right from the beginning. When Henry Salinas, a concerned resident, took it upon himself to start working with teens and keep them off the street, he sat down with the police chief. He not only got their blessing, he got their involvement. Edward Upshaw, who was the sergeant of the gang unit at the time, was assigned to sit on ICAN’s board. He was a little hesitant at first – Chandler had a very serious gang problem at the time and he wasn’t sure ICAN was the answer. But just a little time with Henry and the kids and that opinion changed quickly. In fact, ICAN often quotes Edward Upshaw, now a Commander, who credits ICAN in helping with Chandler’s current low crime statistics.
Over the years, Chandler PD has always been there supporting ICAN. When ICAN started the Coalition on Youth Substance (CCYSA) abuse in 2005, Chandler PD was right there, ready to be a part of the cause. Chandler PD chaperones CCYSA teens when they do their outreach programs in the community and always have multiple officers on the task force. The partnership with ICAN and CCYSA spear-headed the Social Host Ordinance that passed in 2014.
It should be no surprise that Chandler PD is so active with ICAN. Just this past May, our Chief of Police shared a new report on 21st Century policing that stemmed from a task force appointed by President Obama. The report offers recommendations to determine where improvements could be made to their procedures and policies to strengthen their partnerships in the community and demonstrate the highest standards of performance. The report outlines four pillars of focus for the department, the first of which is Building Trust and Legitimacy. They strive to treat people with dignity and respect and to be transparent. This new document is a strong statement to their commitment to keeping our community safe and doing so in a dignified manner. Those of us that have been working with ICAN for a number of years know that this has always been the case.
It’s not just about sitting on a board or task force either; Chandler PD is involved in the everyday activities at ICAN. They just recently helped with our 25th Anniversary Coin Drive, giving lots of high-fives to youth as kudos for staying on the right path. They serve dinner every year at our family Thanksgiving Dinner. They even stopped by last month to our community Salsa Night event and spent a good portion of the evening playing bean bag toss with the youth.
They are friendly faces that take the time to get to know the youth coming to ICAN programs. They know that building a relationship with these kids now will have such a positive and lasting influence on them well into the future. ICAN is so grateful to our men and women in blue; we look forward to another 25 years of working together and making Chandler the BEST place to live!
CEO, ICAN: Positive Programs for Youth