STAMFORD - Stamford police met Wednesday with local religious leaders at police headquarters to discuss the launch of a program they call the Value Based Initiative.

As News 12 Connecticut first reported on Monday, the Stamford Police Department is hopeful that the program will help it reach out to under-served communities and minorities to prevent youth and gang-related violence.

The Value Based Initiative was first developed by the United States Department of Justice?s Community Oriented Policing Services and has already proven successful in 15 communities around the United States. The program exists in New Haven, but this initiative will be the first in Fairfield County.

First Presbyterian Church representative David Martinez expressed his delight that Stamford police are taking a step forward in bettering their relationships with both the Hispanic and African-American communities.