ADAMS COUNTY, MS (WLBT) - Law enforcement agencies from across the southern region are meeting with young people in Adams County Tuesday night. The goal is to bridge the gap between officers, the community and youth. It is part of the three-day event to foster positive relationships in the community and combat crime.
Ziyonna Bruce lives in Natchez. She admits many of her peers don't trust police and don't feel comfortable talking to them about crime in their communities.
“My peers, we fear them. We are like ‘stay away,'” said Ziyonna Bruce.
19-year-old Kenisha Cogdell couldn't agree more.
“Honestly, the crime is committed by my peers a lot because they always want to be in gang related activities and things, and I think they have a problem with the police because of social media,” said Cogdell, who lives in Natchez.
Juan Cloy is part of the Police Training Institute, which is under the umbrella of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids. He has put together a three-day event this week to bridge the gap between the community and law enforcement. Some of the topics will include communication, de-escalation and combating crime.
“We have a dual training where we train the youth and police together so they can learn from each other and have conversations with each other,” said Cloy.
“It will get you more friendly with them and you will know they are human and not just a badge and a gun,” said Cogdell.
Adams Sheriff Travis Patten is also helping sponsor the event.
“As you know it is like a pressure cooker between law enforcement and the youth, and this program is a way to bleed some of the pressure off,” said Patten.
He says it’s important to promote positive relationships in the community - especially when you are dealing with youth.
“What I am hoping from the law enforcement side is we understand their language, and on the youth side they learn ours as well. They learn what can trigger this action or that action, but we need to find a happy medium in the middle."