Thank you for taking the time to visit the People’s Police Academy (PPA) website, a space that was uniquely designed to provide you with a glimpse of some amazing work that is taking place in your community or one near you. We are excited, and believe you will be too, with the opportunity to bring together local residents and merchants, civic and religious leaders, elected officials, law enforcement and youth, to discuss, dialogue and address a wide range of public health and safety issues.
The work of the PPA begins with the task of conducting comprehensive community mapping and assessment, followed by community engagement. It requires many, many hours of participatory action research relationship development, participation in community events, face to face interviews, circulation of surveys and much more, all for the sole purpose of documenting the expressed needs of the communities we serve.
Our core belief is that public safety is a shared responsibility and it is essential that both those who live and work in the community, call it their home and are equipped to support and collaborate with each other to create an environment that is safe, vibrant and prosperous for all of its occupants. We pledge to do our part and urge you to do yours to ensure that together we become the change we want to see.
Please join us as we present to you the PPA Communiversity.
The People’s Police Academy (PPA) is a non-profit, community-based and lead, training, education, research, and direct service organization established in the spirit of collaboration, with community leaders, law enforcement, local business merchants, youth and civic and faith leaders. It was designed to create a platform that brings all members of the community together to co-create public safety, build trust and cohesion and commit to better understand the role that each of us plays in supporting safe, healthy communities. Our theme: public safety is a shared responsibility.
Over an 18-month period in 2016-17, the PPA underwent a comprehensive planning process that involved community asset mapping, town hall meetings, and the distribution and collection of surveys in each of NYC’s five boroughs. This process made it possible for PPA members and law enforcement to hear the concerns and challenges directly from the community and utilize this vital information to design curricula and the infrastructure for the training the PPA would provide.
The PPA is now being incubated in the Dubois-Bunche Center for Public Policy at the historic Medgar Evers College (MEC) in the City University of New York, where students, faculty, community service providers and others are part of the infrastructure of the organization. PPA’s service network offers bridge for students interested in public safety to access education, internships and employment opportunities in the criminal justice disciplines in New York City.
Medgar Evers College’s mission to serve the local communities in Brooklyn and beyond, is complimented by the PPA’s local problem solving approach, because its efforts directly contribute to the engagement of students, faculty and local residents and contributes to the improvement of public safety, and the overall quality of life in Crown Heights where the college is located. The success of the PPA is of significant importance to all who cherish peace, prosperity and public safety.
Partners and Supporters
Dr. Divine Pryor
Divine Pryor is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the People’s Police Academy located in the City University of New York at Medgar Evers College. In this role, he works closely with community leaders, system stakeholders, institution heads and others to facilitate the integration of solution oriented, outcome-based efforts that minimize risks and maximize positive results. He has spent the past four years building the infrastructure of the People’s Police Academy and preparing to take the city, state and nation by storm in the up-coming year. Stay tuned!
Divine Pryor is a social scientist who has extensive knowledge and experience in the criminal justice field having spent over half his career administrating HIV/AIDS, youth development, juvenile justice, and community-based reentry, substance abuse and addiction organizations. He has been particularly interested in the issues related to mass incarceration and social concerns that are addressed by both social service non-profit organizations and governmental agencies. He has traveled extensively providing expertise and counsel on criminal justice issues to academicians, activists and advocates, judges, defense attorneys, prosecutors and others, for the purpose of influencing policy decisions. In addition, he has developed trainings and workshops for professionals that have produced initiatives such as Operation S.N.U.G., PPA for community policing, School to Prison analysis, and Building Bridges creating employment opportunities for people with convictions. He has influenced alternatives to incarceration programming, resulting in the reduction of collateral consequences associated with people who have had criminal justice involvement.
In 2003 he was appointed by the Council of State Governors to the National Re-entry Policy Council, where he and over 100 national experts produced the most voluminous work in re-entry in the nation. In 2012, Dr. Pryor was appointed by the Minority Leader of the New York State Senate to Co-Chair the New York State Anti-Gang Violence Reduction Commission. In addition to his leadership roles on local and national boards, he is a member of the NYC Mayors Sub-Committee on Arrest Diversion. He is currently the Chair of the NYC Criminal Justice Clergy Task Force and a graduate of the NYPD Citizens Police Academy. He is often called to provide consultation and advice to Supreme Court Justices, District Attorneys’ Offices, members of city, state and federal government and others in the criminal justice field. The Center for Nuleadership on Urban solutions, which he co-founded serves as a national model for formerly incarcerated professionals who have devoted their lives and careers to use their personal experience to offer innovative solutions to social ills. It is the first of its kind in the nation, as a leading public policy, research, advocacy and training center founded by formerly incarcerated professionals who represent every discipline from law to medicine.
Divine Pryor, and all that he has accomplished in his lifetime, presents us with a “living example” of how someone can recover from the failing public school system in America’s urban cities. His story is one of an African-American male who was raised in a middle class, two parent household by parents who worked hard and wanted nothing but the best for him and his six Brothers and Sisters. During his public-school years, it was determined that his inattentive and disruptive behavior was a distraction to the other students, and he was defined as unruly, troublesome, incorrigible etc. Needless to say his teachers didn’t know that he was an extremely bright and intelligent young man who loved to read, write and escape to faraway places through his imagination. Their inability to realize that his intellectual growth, was occurring much faster than his social maturity could handle, led them to their faulty conclusions, thereby pushing him into the streets and, ultimately into the prison pipeline.
So, before ever attending a formal institution, Divine Pryor acquired his very first degree from the “school of hard knocks” with a Ph.D. from UCLA. That is the “University on the Corner of Lenox Avenue” in New York City. While incarcerated, he would rediscover his love for learning and resume his educational journey, obtaining both a B.A. and M.A. in Sociology from S.U.N.Y. New Paltz After his release in 1991 he would go on to complete his graduate studies at both Kennedy Western & Suffield University and would continue to build his exceptional career in the Criminal Justice.
Linda is currently the Chief of Staff to Dr. Divine Pryor and the People’s Police Academy. She graduated from the Herbert H. Lehman College, Bronx, NY with a Masters Degree in Business Education. Her goal at the time was to become a high school teacher but decided to take her knowledge and experiences to the non-profit sector working in the fields of substance use, HIV/AIDS, mental health and now public safety. She has an undying commitment to working with any disadvantaged population and has always been attracted to working with those agencies whose mission is to have a positive impact on people’s lives.
Emerging as one of the world’s leading experts in the field of community led public safety, K Bain is a socialpreneur, public speaker and activist for human rights, human development and human justice. Bain is a nationally recognized thought leader and strategists in the areas of conflict resolution and mediation, intergenerational wealth building, and youth development. Bain’s demonstrated track record spans two decades with accomplishments in government, education, entertainment, philanthropy and business and now the non-profit sector He has been an unparalleled and incomparable voice in promoting violence as a public health issue, structural and systemic racial discrimination, personal and professional development through sustainable growth planning on the local, national and international stage. As the founder and principle of Globan Bain, he has successfully brought together leading experts to address and elevate the skill sets, capacity and scalability of for profit and nonprofit organizations dedicated to uplifting marginalized communities.
He also serves as the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Community Capacity Development (CCD), a Human Justice organization dedicated to community renewal, community led public safety and grass roots driven economic and social development. In spring of 2021, Bain was sworn in as a Commissioner to New York City’s Racial Justice Commission. As one of 11 appointed commissioner’s, Bain is charged with examining the City’s foundations to identify structures and systems that by design, implementation, or impact enable and perpetuate inequitable power, access, and opportunity. Bain has presented nationally as a guest lecturer and keynote speaker in colleges and universities such as UCLA, NYU, Princeton and Columbia University and has provide guidance on human justice solutions for multilateral systems of inequity to cities including but not limited to; Baltimore, Newark, Miami, Durham, Newburgh, Chicago and countries such as Ghana, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Bain is a graduate of Brooklyn College, where he earned his B.A. in African Studies and Sociology, and a M.A. in Urban Policy and Public Administration. He has completed post graduate, executive leadership trainings and certification at Harvard University, New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and Columbia University’s Center for Justice and has earned a Congressional Achievement Award from the 5th Congressional District, and multiple citations from elected officials across the United States.
Almitra Gasper, is a dedicated community organizer, activist, and training facilitator. She is driven by her passions for health, publics peaking, and community. Raised in the St. Albans community of Jamaica, Queens; Almitra experienced her first encounter with gun violence at 16-years-old. As a young adult, gun violence continued to take many of her friends’ lives. After finishing college and running Music On Myrtle, her own retail music and bookstore in Brooklyn for three years, she felt compelled to return to her native home in St. Albans, Queens to advocate for and improve her community’s physical and economic health. Almitra began speaking publicly on issues of concern for our low-socioeconomic communities through various radio and TV talk shows, as well as panel discussions for various audiences. Working closely with her local community development corporation, Almitra has produced cleanup events, health fairs, and facilitated town-hall style meetings for local residents. Over the past decade, she has continued her education in dispute resolution, multi-dimensional mediation and has worked as a trainer for the NYC Health Department’s violence prevention, racial justice, and mental health first aid initiatives. In 2020, Almitra completed another degree in the Sociology of Urban Conflict.