MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Too often we’ve heard about clashes with police and marginalized youth. But what’s being done to repair that relationship? A program called Teen Talk is aimed at bridging the divide.
For a group of teens from Liberty City, the day started out with some tough conversations.
“You can never meet with aggression, that’s not going to work out with you. But nothing stops you from picking up the phone and calling 911 again,” a police officer told the students.
How teens should interact with people was a big topic of discussion. Some of the students have not experienced or witnessed positive interactions with police.
“A lot of violence, but nothing I can’t handle, I don’t get bothered,” said Talrica Williams.
It’s not surprising when you hear the honesty from the 8th-grade student that sometimes one’s surroundings can truly effect academic performance or outlook.
“It’s a struggle,” she explained.
To gain different perspectives and get out of her bubble, Williams is a participant in Teen Talk. It’s primary focus is on building trust between youth and police. Along with the tour this Wednesday, students got a tour of Miami Police Headquarters.
“It starts video, and I start video recording, and you can see on the screen it shows it there,” a police officer said, as she showed students how video conferencing is new feature of the 911 system.
The students were shown how police respond for help. But much of the days’ discussions were driven by students.
“They send it to the person do they do they get in trouble too?” Williams said.
Officers did their best to answer their questions, and warned them about the dangers present on social media.
“And later on they pick that person up, no, no, because this was their gun, now you’re in some trouble,” another officer said.
The day ended with an etiquette lesson at the Red Rooster. This was a finishing touch, to help build up the student’s confidence in new settings, and also to let them know they belong.
“One of the things I always share with the kids whenever I meet with them is that I let them know that in my eyes and in the eyes of the people they work with, they are priceless,” said Ruban Roberts, the CEO and founder of RER Consulting.
Roberts leads Teen Talks, and he told CBS4 News it doesn’t end here. This is just one part of the step along the way to helping get through to young students.
“The sky is the limit and that’s what we want to show them,” he said.
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