MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- This school year, Milwaukee Police have a mission -- to get students started on the right foot. Saturday, August 16th held a Back-To-School Bash at Miller Park focusing on building better relationships between officers and students.
The Back-To-School Bash lets Milwaukee police officers get to know students while showing them the tricks of their trade.
"We have to recognize, these are the people who protect and serve and they are supposed to look over us and our children so that's a very major key in the community," said parent, Leonetta Jones.
It is part of Milwaukee Police Department's S.T.O.P. program, which stands for, "Students Talking It Out With Police."
"So when you see a police officer in uniform that initial anxiety and nervousness you feel, during the program what we're trying to do is alleviate that nervousness so we can have a normal conversation," said Officer William Singleton from the Milwaukee Police Department.
But admittedly, for police -- improving the relationship with kids can be a tough hill to climb.
"I think it is a challenge, not only in Milwaukee but nationwide, we're we really face that challenge of during our initial interaction, how are things going to go?" said Captain Peter Pierce.
It is a social issue that is on top of mind for Milwaukee parents.
"To keep our children safe we have to have safe officers and to keep our officers safe we have to a safe community," said one parent.
"Again, the safety of our kids. The city we live in, so that people aren't afraid to come to our city and we're not afraid to leave our city," said another parent.
Saturday's event is a send-off of the programs latest graduates and another opportunity to mingle with families.
"This is focusing on our young leaders; the people that we hope stay in our community, to raise the community up," said Pierce.
Which brings the program back to leadership, because it takes a leader, to inspire one.
The S.T.O.P. program is in 42 public, private and charter schools. To date, Milwaukee has more than 900 S.T.O.P. graduates.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the Back-To-School Bash and the S.T.O.P. program.