(WTNH) – In this edition of Wednesday’s Warrior, our warrior and New Haven’s youth are arming the community with self-defense ad life skills through the art of Jiu-Jitsu.

By doing so, they are bringing kids and police officers together in a positive way.

“The idea being it is number one community relations. All instructors [who] help me teach the Jiu-Jitsu program are police officers,” said Lieutenant Elliot Rosa.

Rosa has been with the New Haven Police Department for 20 years. Seeing first-hand what new Haven kids need, he started a Police Academy League (PAL) Jiu-Jitsu program.

“Most importantly, it [Jiu-Jitsu] comes with a slew of benefits,” said Rosa. “It aids in weight loss, it’ll aid in problem-solving, and it’ll aid in confidence, self-defense, and bully prevention. And the community piece with it, is the children get to know the police officers and the officers get to know the children and the parents.”

Rosa said he looks strongly at Waterbury’s PAL program, which he stated has proven to lower crime rates throughout the brass city. He hopes that this program will have the same effect on the elm city. Trust, he said, remains the cornerstone of the program.

“It really builds this relationship that is needed with the police department and the community,” he added.

The program runs three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Rosa is hoping to double the number of kids currently participating, even opening the program to all of New Haven County.

“The program is $20 every three months,” he said. “Normally it’s $150 a month if you pay on the private side, and that $20, if that family can’t afford, it there’s a waiver, and it’s completely free.”

The end goal, Rosa said, is to spread positivity and unite his community.

If you have a child interested in this program, you can email Lt. Rosa at erosa@newhavenct.gov to sign up.