FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - High school and college students from around Fort Wayne came together on Friday to learn what it’s like being a police officer.
Purdue Fort Wayne student Jawaun Phillips says he and his friends have had negative interactions with police growing up in Gary.
"It was kind of uncomfortable because the whole time I was wondering hey, they might shoot me or they might do something that’s unethical and that they shouldn’t do, even if I’m in the right," Phillips explained.
So through training exercises, and classroom education, Phillips and his peers got a small glimpse of life behind the badge.
"Even though it was just a scenario, it was very intense," Phillips said of his scenario, in which he "pulled over a motorist driving erratically, but turned out to be someone rushing to the hospital.
Phillips continued, "They have to go through these things. They have to make quick decisions."
Fort Wayne United program director Greggory Smith-Causey says one of the goals is to get these young men to recognize police officers as human, but he also wants to make sure they’re safe in the future.
"It’s really what they can learn and take home to their communities and get them home safe, to project a message of partnership with their communities and police officers," Smith-Causey said.
After the last fake bullet was fired and they were debriefed, Smith-Causey says that message was delivered, saying "After we went through the entire training and I spoke to them, I don’t believe anyone left here without a change of heart or at least a change of perspective”
Smith-Causey says his ultimate goal is to get all high schools in the area to do a program like this in the future.