MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A multimedia town hall meeting was held between Shelby County School students and Memphis Police Department representatives in an effort to improve interactions with police.
The meeting was a first-of-its kind between cops and kids and one that definitely was a unique way to begin a conversation.
Students and police officers sat around the same table, trying to find common ground, all contained within a multimedia town hall meeting aired on the district's cable channel and radio station. It also included input through social media.
"We have to communicate with them. We have to break down the barriers because they think one way and we think another," Memphis Police LT Tyrone Currie said.
Central High sophomore Cassius Bryant admitted he was uneasy around the officers, even though his uncle is a police officer.
"I trust....some," he said.
But, recent events involving police make him feel like he needs to distance himself. Although, he said they too have been victims.
He admits people his age can be more open.
The first-of-its-kind collaboration was just some of what is to come.
Posters highlighting how to respond to law enforcement will go up in every SCS school this year, along with a video teaching kids to not resist arrest, even if they believe they're innocent.
The video will be shown to all SCS students grades 3-12 within the first week of school.
The new year will also bring more open dialogue.
"And we're going to discuss how the youth and the police department can come up with some solutions," Currie said.
The poster that will be circulated gives nine steps when coming into contact with law enforcement; including being polite, respectful and obeying the officer, don't run, don't argue, stay calm, watch your words and emotions, keep your hands in plain sight of the officer, avoid physical contact, don't resist arrest, know that anything you say or do can be used against you, and file a formal complaint if you feel your rights have been violated.