By Bianca Peters

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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — They’re handing out t-shirts, not tickets.

ft lauderdale teen summit Ft. Lauderdale Police Bridging The Gap With Inner City Youth

Ft. Lauderdale Police talk to kids during their annual youth summit on July 14, 2017. (Source: CBS4)

It’s a different side of the Ft. Lauderdale Police Dept. and one we don’t always get to see.

“We ultimately want to bridge that gap between the juveniles and law-enforcement,” said Ofc. Crystal Smith. “Bring the kids in and we do it in a fun and engaging manner.”

The police department, along with the Ft. Lauderdale Black Police Officers Association came together for their annual teen summit, talking to them and sharing their lives.

“The positive things that come out of here are, a lot of kids are like, they saw us in there dancing, they see that we have families, we’re human, just like they are,” said the association’s president, Nina Justice. “And we just want to do the right things.”

Through workshops with police officers and criminal judges, inner city youth in Ft. Lauderdale are walking away with a different mind set on law enforcement.

“All officers are not the same,” said teenager David Britt. “They came out of their way today to be with us, to give us information on what we need and how to set goals and be successful. So that shows that every officers is not the same.”

It’s a different kind of connection and appreciation on both ends. Part of serving and protecting starts with empowering the youth.

“Never let someone hinder you from doing something to keep going and being successful, because no one can stop you from being or doing what you want to do,” said Britt.

This year marks the 9th year the organizations have put the teen summit together.


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