Basketball diplomacy: Law enforcement holds open discussions at - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Basketball diplomacy: Law enforcement holds open discussions at BREC parks

BRPD officers and EBRSO deputies talk with teenagers at BREC's Sports Academy (Source: WAFB) BRPD officers and EBRSO deputies talk with teenagers at BREC's Sports Academy (Source: WAFB)
Law enforcement agencies in Baton Rouge are holding discussions with youth throughout the summer (Source: BRPD) Law enforcement agencies in Baton Rouge are holding discussions with youth throughout the summer (Source: BRPD)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

Law enforcement agencies in Baton Rouge are holding a series of open dialogue discussions with young people this summer.

The goal of the conversations is to hear from young people in the community and to establish better relationships between officers and residents. People ages 25 and under are invited to attend to learn about what officers and deputies do on the job.

"We just want them to feel comfortable with the police and let them know that we're there for them, and we're there to protect them and the city, and that we're not there to hurt them," said BRPD Sgt. Elvin Howard, Jr.

The program got its start in 2016. 

"BREC approached Baton Rouge Police, the Sheriff’s Office and State Police about the idea of coming to our recreation centers, having an open dialogue with youth and even bringing some of their equipment in to make it more fun," said Cheryl Michelet, Director of Communications for BREC. "They have brought horses, helicopters, SWAT equipment and more to demonstrate what they do to keep the community safe." 

At the June 7 event officers and deputies discussed how to act during encounters with law enforcement. They answered questions about violent encounters that some of the teenagers described. They also offered advice on how to choose friends and make good decisions. No topic is off limits, and the conversations are often blunt.

"Nobody wanna die," Sgt. Howard told the group. "Nobody on this bench want to die, so you gotta make smart choices so you can live."

Organizers say what they hear back from the teenagers is just as valuable as the information they're providing.

"We also getting feedback from them, so a key into their brain, to let us know how they are thinking also," Howard said.

There will be several other LEO events happening this summer. They will all be held at BREC  parks from 6 to 7:30 p.m. as follows:

  • June 7: Sports Academy
  • June 14: Longfellow
  • June 21: Anna T. Jordan
  • June 28: Gus Young
  • July 12: Saia Park
  • July 19: Expressway
  • July 26: Howell Park

For more info, call 225-272-9200 ext. 400.

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