ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - A group of Eastern Carolina high school students were given a unique opportunity as they sat face to face with law enforcement officials to ask questions about life behind the badge.
This is the second year the Onslow County Youth and Law Enforcement Forum has been held with the goal of helping high school students better understand the role that officers play in keeping them and their peers safe.
Friday, 100 high school juniors and seniors from across Onslow County participated in the forum.
Breakout sessions were held with the students and various officers, deputies, and troopers to discuss the role law enforcement plays on their school campus and in the community.
Many students say with heavy national conversation around police brutality, this event broke down barriers.
"Not all cops are bad cops, there's definitely ones like that were on the panel who do their job and they do it well and they go out there with the best intentions," says Inaya Rivera, a senior at Jacksonville High School.
Later in day, small groups of students also sat down for a one on one lunch with a law enforcement officer where the officers talk the dos and don'ts of social media.
Sheriff Hans Miller says he's glad that Onslow County Schools prioritized this forum for the second year in a row.
He says helping youth better understand the role of police leads to safer communities for the future.
In total, seven law enforcement agencies participated in Friday's forum.