Bridging the gap between police and students - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Bridging the gap between police and students

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

They're trying to change the ways our kids respond, react and talk with local law enforcement.

Wednesday, Savannah-Chatham Metro police spent time with a group of high school students to work on their relationship. It was a very intimate forum, and they stressed the whole point is to open a dialogue with the teens and to see things from their perspective so they can change some things in the way they police across the city.

"This is not just a Savannah problem, it's a national problem and we have to just start by listening to them,” said Cpl. Gregory Sublett, SCMPD Juvenile Investigator.

Cpl. Sublett is working to bridge the gap between the youth in our neighborhoods and how they feel about the police.

“The goal is to get the basic consensus of what young people think about the police department and then move forward to try and change those one idea and one young person at a time,” said Cpl. Sublett.

They held a small forum with a select group of students who we are concealing their identities.

"It’s not about snitching, it’s not about telling on anybody, it’s about changing the community. Today they were speaking from the heart, they were talking about things important to them,” said Cpl. Sublett.

Both parties asked each other questions.

"That starts the dialogue of communication so if they have an issue they will come to the police and they will protect my situation,” said Cpl. Sublett.

Here are some of the statements from the students who attended:

"But, why was Suzy out at midnight when she's 15 years old? Where are the parents at?”

"Do you patrol more, because I never see?”

"I want to know why y’all harass people to try and find people."

Cpl. Sublett says he will take what his learned from the students and implement that into a new plan to help their policing approach saying it’s all about knowing the youth on a personal basis.

"When that personal relationship is made it changes everything, it’s the difference between night and day,” said Cpl. Sublett.

This forum is part of a tour. They will be stopping by a few more schools including middle schools and taking what they've learned to make the necessary changes. And they have plenty of other programs for the youth in our community.

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