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Press Release

Police and Prosecutors 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

GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida, together with the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, Gainesville Police Department, and Eastside High School, will present a BLAST Program event on Wednesday to approximately 50 students.


Event: BLAST Program

Host: United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida


Eastside High School

1201 SE 43rd Street

Gainesville, FL 32641

Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Time: 8:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. EDT

Press: Please RSVP to Amy Alexander at if you plan to attend.


United States Attorney Christopher P. Canova said: “The BLAST initiative was created by the U.S. Attorney’s Office to provide a forum to exchange information about officer risks and citizen viewpoints. Sharing these perspectives encourages safe interactions between citizens and officers to improve our community.”


Sheriff Sadie Darnell said: “Working with the youth of our community is a great way to build trust between law enforcement and our young people so that everyone better understands issues facing each of us.”


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.


The schedule will include the following discussion sessions, during which students will have a chance to participate in role play with law enforcement officers.


  • Criminal Justice Overview: Students will learn about each phase of a federal criminal case, including investigation, prosecution, and sentencing.

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

  • Domestic Violence: Students will participate in a scenario in which police respond to a domestic disturbance. Discussion includes the challenges officers face, rights of witnesses and suspects, and benefits of providing information to the police.

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

  • Traffic Stop Simulation: Participants and officers alternate playing the roles of civilians and officers in 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 public, 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 and public. Reporters may try the simulator equipment after the event ends.


Participating agencies include:

  • United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida

  • Alachua County Sheriff’s Office

  • Gainesville Police Department

  • Eastside High School

  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

  • Drug Enforcement Administration

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

  • Florida Highway Patrol

  • FAMU Police Department


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


For more information, contact:
Amy Alexander, Public Information Officer

Updated June 26, 2017

Community Outreach