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To help young people better understand the role police officers play in their community and to forge stronger connections between teens and police, the award-winning STOP program will begin at both Case and Park high schools this fall.

Developed by the Milwaukee Police Department in 2010 and recipient of the 2014 Webber Seavey Award from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, STOP (Students Talking it Over with Police) has also been studied by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with program participants saying they feel better about police, a story at reads.

Racine police Chief Art Howell said STOP is another tool in his department’s Community Oriented Policing (COP) strategy.

“The overall objective is to break down barriers through problem-solving partnerships,” he told Racine County Eye. “As students learn more about the role police officers play and the challenges police officers face, they develop greater understanding and respect for the profession.”

Likewise, Howell added, police officers learn more about the community they serve through their relationships with the students.

Officers from both Mount Pleasant and Racine attended training last week in Milwaukee in order to implement STOP in Case and Park high schools this school year, the story continues. Members of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department also participated.

Students who participate in STOP learn about what police do and why they do it and take part in role-playing exercises where they take on the role of an officer in order to experience their decision-making process in different scenarios.

STOP takes place during school hours and is usually led by two uniformed officers.