LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Recent events in Ferguson and New York have left many young people with a negative view of law enforcement, including people here in East Texas.
Local law enforcement is trying to break those stereotypes and show young people they aren't there to do them harm.
"Law enforcement officers are people too," said Lufkin Police Department Investigator Paul Jackson. "I wanted to try and dispel some of the misconceptions people have, unfortunately a lot of people get their cues from law enforcement from TV."
The Concerned Black Men of Lufkin invited officers to their annual Teen Summit to show Lufkin Middle School students what their rights were as citizens and to give them little taste of what police jobs are like through a hands-on demonstration.
"That was my aim, to put them in our position amd let them approach a vehicle they way we do, with the limited information that officers have that do this job day and night," Jackson said.
Through the demonstration, many of the students were able to see how dangerous police officers' jobs are, and walked away with a different perspective of law enforcement.
"At first I thought they were kind of mean and just pulled people over just to pull them over," said Lufkin Middle School student Breasia Keglar. "I learned today that they do so much to try to help the community and then get back to their family."
Police said thoughts like that go a long way toward building trust, and dispelling fear.
"I want them to know anytime they see a police officer, go up and talk to them, they're your friend," said LISD Police Officer and Concerned Black Men of Lufkin President, Ralph Bean.