Police and high school students switch roles in Norfolk

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NORFOLK, Va. - Norfolk Police Officers spent Friday at Booker T. Washington High School teaching students what it's like to be an officer.

“They wanted to know – reference our procedures –why we do some of the things that we do," Norfolk Police Sergeant Aprell Copeland said. "We wanted to give them a firsthand perspective and put them in the roles as officers for them to make the decisions we have to make.”

The program comes after the students sent Mayor Kenny Alexander letters concerning recent police shootings in Hampton Roads.

“Anytime I hear that another black man got shot by a cop, it kind of angers me a little bit because you know why would you do that to an individual, if he wasn’t reaching for a gun," Booker T. Washington senior Jared Wilson said.

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Friday, students played the cops and officers role-played as actors in various scenarios, showing students what they go up against day-to-day.

Some of the scenarios included a disturbance call and a traffic stop.

“Me and another officer, Jared, me and him did a traffic stop at a red light, they had ran," Junior Alexis Yarbrough explained.  There were four people in the vehicle. They were a little hostile but not too much."

Following the role reversal, students say they have a new outlook on what it means "to serve and protect".