It’s an assembly with a purpose at Estill High School.
Students intently listening not to a teacher, but to a law enforcement officer.
Members of the Yemassee Police Department and Hampton County Sheriff’s Office in front of a gym full of young people, listening and answering their questions. The goal? Try to understand the officer’s mindset on the beat.
“They have questions that are unanswered,” explains Lt Joe Loadholt of Yemassee Police. “They look up to us as law enforcement officers to get those questions answered to the best of our ability so they’ll get the right understanding.”
Its an event called “cookies for cops”.
Organized by Estill High School students for everyone to listen and learn.
An open forum with any law enforcement officer who wants to come
Student are allowed to speak out, and find out more about being a police officer or deputy.
“A lot of the students have that mentality or its us against them. that’s what we have to work on and that’s what we have to change,” said Sgt James Brooker of the Hampton County Sheriff’s Office.
“We don’t want everyone thinking that all cops are bad cops, and out here to harm us when they are really not they are here to protect us,” said Tonya Jones, an Estill High Student Organizer.
But after the forum was over, what message did the kids take away?
“What they said was they wouldn’t just go ahead and shoot you,” said Romario Williams. “They have to look for certain sights to know what kind of reaction to take toward a person.”
“I mean there are some good cops out there and bad cops out there and at least I know i can go outside and feel more safe around here,” said Brian Garner. “If we get to know these cops better nothing wrong with them, they are human too, just like us, nothing wrong with cops our here.”
A feeling which for these officers, tastes even better than the cookies.
“You can approach us, you can talk to us,” explains Brooker. “We’ve got to work together, this could change everything thats going on today.”
This is the second year for Cookies for Cops, and Estill High hopes to make it an annual event.