BLAST eases tensions with officers and teens

BLAST eases tensions with officers and teens

The U.S. Attorney's Office partnered with law enforcement to help teach young people about safe interactions. It's all a part of a new program that started last year called the BLAST initiative.

Students from AMIkids Pensacola and the Emerald Coast program had a chance to see law enforcement from the other side and ask them questions, even role play common situations.

"Anytime there is interaction between citizens and law enforcement there is a bit of a stress level because of the unexpected," said United States Attorney Christopher P. Canova.

Federal and local agencies worked with students who are already in the legal system. Hoping to help guide them toward a better relationship with officers in the future.

"They come to see law enforcement as human beings, not just people with uniforms and strangers they don't know, that they are hesitant to deal with," Canova said.

The students say they learned about the amount of control they had in a situation.

"The biggest thing I learned is if you're in a situation, in a real bad situation, that involves drugs, firearms, as soon as the police come in: cooperate with them. Put your hands up saying you ain't got anything to do with it. Let them search you, let them talk with you, so it wouldn't be anything like chaos between the two of you," said Keyshawn Jenkins.

Many said they plan to share the information with their friends and family.

"Don't become like me, you know, I want to see them do good in life and don't make no bad decision," added Raymond Hale.

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