Law enforcement officers reach out to youth - - Jackson, MS

Law enforcement officers reach out to youth

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

As we told you earlier this week, Mississippi leads the nation with the number of children, especially boys who grow up in homes without fathers. Thursday night, members of the Metro Youth Initiative and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity sponsored a community forum focusing on what they called, "Us and Them: An Honest Discussion with Law Enforcement and Black Boys".

Officers from the Hinds County Sheriff's Department and Jackson Police talked with the audience about making the tough choices and the consequences of poor choices.

Officers told participants poor choices lead to jail or body bags. Gus McCoy, president of the Metro Youth Initiative, says it is important for young men to build trust and bridge the gap with law enforcement and not see them as adversaries.

"I grew up in a community where the pastor, the other men in the community all talked to us and gave us good positive role models and images to the type of men we need to be," said McCoy.

"It's going to take more than just mentors, it's going to take some serious individuals to bring back the village concept to raise our community. It's not just a black thing, it's a community thing," Hinds County Sheriff Tyrone Lewis said.

Politicians, like Jackson city councilman Tony Yarber, educators and former professional athletes also participated in the forum.

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