GRANDVIEW, Mo. – On Thursday, Grandview police are headed back to high school for their new "Move Toward the Badge" initiative.
For the next four months, officers will be sitting down with Grandview High School seniors to have lunch and connect with students.
“With recent events that have occurred throughout the nation, there’s increased tension, especially between younger students and police officers,” Sgt. Martin Studdard said. “We’re trying to show them that it’s not only important to be able to communicate with police officers, but it’s important to feel comfortable around them.”
The police department received a $2,000 grant from the Truman Heartland Community Foundation for this initiative.
“We’re going to be here at their school, in the gym,” Officer Monica Romero said. “We’re trying to have positive influence, positive interaction where they can kind of let down their guard and just talk to us.”
It was a chance to bring perceptions to the table and talking about it.
“You always hear like, if you’re a young black male, you’re more likely to run into police and have a bad experience,” senior Noah Moore said. “After meeting with them today, it kinda changed my view.”
The goal is to break down barriers and give students a chance to get to know the officers in their community.
From basketball to cornhole, students and officers said they saw each other on the same level.
“You can just see them like regular people here, you know playing basketball having a good time,” Moore said.
The students weren’t afraid to ask questions.
“I was just asking about where he came from and just trying to get a good general knowing of who he is as a person,” senior Brennan Kibble said.
The initiative hopes to bring strong relationships and trust, starting with just a simple conversation.
“If you just sit down and talk with them, you can tell that they’re pretty cool people, you know?” Moore said. “They have interests just like us, feelings just like us, stuff they like to do, stuff they don’t like to do, just normal people, you know, and just talking to them can really show that.”