Police program initiates a conversation with the community

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WITN) - The Elizabeth City Police Department hosted a community program Saturday to start a conversation with the community and show the different types of situations officers come across daily.

The Change Program is used to help eliminate common misconceptions and develop a better understanding about various aspects of law enforcement. The department says the program puts a special emphasis on understanding the use of force by police.

Small groups participate in classroom discussions and simulated scenarios that police often encounter and can often result in the use of force, officials said.

These simulations include things like traffic stops, Sergeant James Judge said.

Officers then talk to the participants after each scenario so people can discuss how they felt and how they reacted during each of the situations.

This is the third time Elizabeth City Police have hosted The Change Program. The department tries to host the class about twice a year, but the popularity of the class is growing and could be offered more frequently, Judge said.

The group that participated Saturday included members of "The Stand" community group and players for the River City Outlaw Semi Pro Football Team.