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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Police and Prosecutors Join Students for a Day of Learning

BLAST (Building Lasting Relationships Between Police and Community) Program Brings Law Enforcement and Youth Together

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – In recognition of National Community Policing Week (October 2-8, 2016), the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida, together with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and Twin Oaks Juvenile Development, Inc., will present a BLAST Program event on Friday to 40 youth from the Juvenile Unit for Special Treatment, located in Wilma, Florida.

The BLAST Program offers students an opportunity to meet representatives of the criminal justice community and ask them questions, share their perceptions of law enforcement, and interact with officers in a familiar setting. 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.

Event: BLAST Program
Location: Veterans Memorial Civic Center
10405 NW Theo Jacobs Way
Bristol, FL 32321
Date: Friday, October 7, 2016
Press: A media availability will take place at 1:45 p.m. The youth discussion sessions are closed to the media and the public, and videography and photography of students is not permitted.

The schedule will include the following discussion sessions, during which students will have a chance to participate in role play with law enforcement officers:
     • Crime and Justice Overview: Students will learn about each phase of a federal criminal case, including investigation, prosecution, and sentencing.
     • Domestic Violence: Students will participate in a scenario in which police respond to an injured victim. Discussion topics will include de-escalation in a stressful environment, rights of witnesses and suspects, and the benefits of providing information to
       the police.
     • Traffic Stop Simulation: Students will take turns playing the roles of civilians and officers in a traffic stop scenario in which some participants are compliant and some are argumentative. Discussion topics include vehicle searches based on probable
       cause and the dangers faced by officers during a traffic stop.
     • 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.

Participating agencies include:
     • United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida
     • Federal Bureau of Investigation
     • Liberty County Sheriff’s Office
     • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
     • Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office
     • Drug Enforcement Administration

The United States Attorney’s Office is expanding the BLAST program across the district, building on a successful event in Pensacola last month.

About National Community Policing Week:

Community policing is a public safety philosophy based on partnership and cooperation between law enforcement and the communities that they are sworn to protect. At the center of community policing is the idea that all members of the community, both officer and civilian, have a stake in the safety of their neighborhoods where they live and work.

In support of community policing efforts around the country, the United States Department of Justice will lead nearly 400 events, and President Obama will designate the week of Oct. 2-8, 2016, as National Community Policing Week. The week is also an extension of the Attorney General’s 12-city Community Policing Tour that highlighted collaborative programs and policing practices designed to advance public safety, strengthen police-community relations, and foster mutual trust and respect between law enforcement and citizens.
     • 21st Century Policing Task Force report
     • Attorney General’s Community Policing Op-Ed

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 http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.

For more information, contact:
Amy Alexander, Public Information Officer
(850) 216-3854, amy.alexander@usdoj.gov

Updated October 11, 2016