THE BRONX - NYPD recruits on Thursday began a four-day training session aimed at improving relations between police officers and the communities they serve.

The recruits met with activists such as the Rev. Al Sharpton at the Apollo Theater in Manhattan as the department tries to get a dialogue going with community members.

The NYPD made the training a mandatory part of the academy's curriculum following the shooting death of Sean Bell, a Queens man killed by police in 2006 though he was unarmed.

All three police officers in the Bell shooting were later acquitted of the charges against them.