LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – After serving 13 years in the LAPD, Officer Keith Linton made the decision to retire early and invest his heart and soul back into the children of Watts.
“When I left LAPD in 2015 I thought, ‘What if instead of giving a kid a booking number, I can give him hope?'” said Linton.
Growing up in the Brownsville housing development in Brooklyn, Linton identifies firsthand with the post-traumatic stress children growing up in LAPD’ Southeast Division carry with them into adulthood.
“I just listened to the community. I just listened to the kids,” he said.
Five years ago, he launched Boys To Gentlemen, a nonprofit mentorship program with a mission to mold at-risk boys into “at-hope gentlemen” using techniques he’s instilled into 5,000 children in 20 local schools living with PTSD.
His program also covers confidence building, where they become experts at tying ties and financial literacy.
“I didn’t know how to tie a tie until I was in the police academy at 27,” said Linton.
Former NBA star Andre Miller, who grew up in Watts, pitches in regularly with Linton. Miller says he witness the children gravitate to Linton’s authenticity.
“He’s just hand- on father figure and someone they can lean on and share of themselves and that’s very important,” Miller said. “We need more guys like this guy.”
Click here to learn more about the Boys 2 Gentlemen program.