BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Bridging the gap between law enforcement and the public is the main goal of a new initiative led by the Louisiana Black Prosecutors Association and the group held its first town hall Thursday morning with students at McKinley High School.
It's a great initiative with some great goals. It's called Real Talk: The Police, the Law and You. It was the first of what the association hopes will be ongoing efforts to bridge that gap.
Through these town hall sessions, members of the association will join law enforcement officers to start a conversation in an effort to reach an understanding of how law enforcement and the public can be on one accord.
This effort is really the result of the national discord seen recently between law enforcement and the public, specifically the African American community.
Students who were part of the inaugural session said the partnership means both sides realizing their respective responsibilities.
"Sometimes police officers don't approach you the way you want them to," said Josie Alexander, a student at McKinley High. "Sometimes we approach police officers in a way that we don't need to. So, it's all about your approach and your appearance and sometimes image is everything."
"I think the open communication between the community and law enforcement goes a long way to preventing some of the things we're seeing across the country," said state Rep. Edward "Ted" James II, D-Baton Rouge.
James is a graduate of McKinley High.
The program is seen as a great initiative to help the youth in Baton Rouge with their police interactions.
However, it's a two-way street and District Attorney Hillar Moore will comment during 9News at 5 p.m. about the things police officers are doing to make sure they too aren't acting in ways that could escalate situations.