VPD, VHS demonstrate citizen-law enforcement interaction

VPD, VHS demonstrate citizen-law enforcement interaction
VPD Chief Brian Childress explains the importance of a healthy relationship between youth and law enforcement. (Source: WALB)
VPD Chief Brian Childress explains the importance of a healthy relationship between youth and law enforcement. (Source: WALB)
Youth Advisory President Nia Crosby encourages students to bring a friend to the next course. (Source: WALB)
Youth Advisory President Nia Crosby encourages students to bring a friend to the next course. (Source: WALB)

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - A lot of myths and stereotypes about law enforcement were laid to rest Wednesday, as police gave students first-hand hand look at what it's like to walk in their shoes.

Roughly 100 students filled the auditorium seats at Valdosta High School today to take a course on "How to interact with Police" and "What to do if you get pulled over."

Students like Jalen Smith said a course like this is needed for students who have only been taught to see police in a negative light.

"Some of the students in our school, they come from backgrounds where the police are really presented to be the bad guys. They live in neighborhoods where the police aren't seen to be very supportive," said Smith.

A perspective that Smith believes, can send youth down a different path.

This year, the city of Valdosta has experienced a number of youth facing charges for car break-ins, aggravated assaults-- and even murder.

Valdosta High student Haley Hogan said it is going to take all of us to stop crime.

"Community members, especially adults, principals, teachers and even police officers and chief of police to get a hold of these youth members and tell them the repercussions that could come from their actions," said Hogan.

"As a predominantly African-American school, we need to link that relationship between law enforcement and our students," said Smith.

Overall, students and law enforcement saw the event as a small step in the right direction; everyone left with more than they came with.

"Our thoughts come from young minds, the same ages of the kids committing these crimes in the streets," said Smith. "So if they get our thoughts and get to pick our brain, maybe they can see how they can help us as adults in the community."

Education and information is the name of the game.

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