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Press Release

Law Enforcement Officers Join Students For A Day Of Learning

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Florida

BLAST (Building Lasting Relationships Between Police and Community) Program

                     Brings Law Enforcement and Communities Together

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – This Wednesday, high school students in Gainesville will have the opportunity to hear directly from three of the area’s top law enforcement officials – including the U.S. Attorney, the Alachua County sheriff, and the Gainesville police chief – as part of a BLAST Program, which offers students an opportunity to meet representatives of the criminal justice community to ask them questions, share their perceptions of law enforcement, and interact with law enforcement officers in a familiar setting.

During the four-hour program at Eastside High School, law enforcement officers also provide students with their perspective on responding to dangerous or uncertain circumstances and the importance of remaining calm and following the officers’ directions in these situations. Members of the media are welcome to attend and photograph/video most demonstrations of the BLAST (Building Lasting Relationships Between Police and Community) Program demonstrations.

“Sharing these perspectives encourages safe interactions between citizens and officers to improve our community,” said Lawrence Keefe, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, who will be one of the participants in the Gainesville program. “Our communities are safest when residents and law enforcement work as partners, and the BLAST program is an excellent way to replace misgivings and apprehension with familiarity and trust.”

Among those joining Keefe in speaking with the students will be Alachua Sheriff Sadie Darnell and Gainesville Police Chief Tony Jones. Agencies participating in the program include the FBI, ATF, DEA, Florida Highway Patrol, and the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office. Media: Please RSVP to  if you plan to attend.

The BLAST Program schedule will include the following discussion sessions, during which students will have a chance to participate in role play with law enforcement officers. (Students with media permissions will be identified.)

Federal Crimes Scenario: Students will evaluate video scenarios and learn about each phase of a federal criminal case, including investigation, prosecution, and sentencing.

This session is open to the media, and videography and photography is permitted.

Domestic Violence Response / K-9 Demonstration: Students will participate in a scenario in which law enforcement officers respond to a domestic disturbance. Discussion includes the challenges officers’ face, rights of witnesses and suspects, and benefits of providing information to law enforcement.

This session is open to the media, and videography and photography is permitted.

Traffic Stop Simulation: Students and officers engage, alternating the roles of civilians and officers conducting a traffic stop. Discussion includes de-escalation and the uncertainty officers and vehicle occupants face during a traffic stop.

This session is open to the media, and videography and photography is permitted.

Use of Force: Facilitators and students will discuss when law enforcement officers may use force and an officer’s reaction time when confronted with a life-threatening situation.

This session is closed to the media. Reporters may try the simulator equipment after the event ends.

The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access available public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit


U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Florida

Updated June 30, 2019

Community Outreach