The Prince George's County's Young Adults Citizens' Police Academy is working to strengthen community relations in light of clashes between police and residents around the country.
Knowing when to shoot, when deadly force is appropriate and how stress affects situation are some of the things police officers are trained in. On Monday, a group of young people in Prince George's County also got that important lesson.
With relationships between some communities and police departments full of tension, and at times, violent clashes like the ones in Baltimore between protesters and officers, Prince George's County Police Chief Mark Magaw said building community trust is critical.
"Those relationships will build trust in the community," said Magaw. "So, God forbid we do have an incident here, we have an opportunity to sit down and talk about what happened and be able to work through it as opposed to what we've seen across the country."
For the first time, the Prince George's County citizens academy is reaching out to 18 to 30 year olds.
"The 18- to 30-year-old group in this country is the most under represented," Chief Magaw said. "They don't have a voice. And really that's why we wanted to pull this together."
Vittoria Jackson is one of about 30 students in the class.
"I'm a little concerned with the juveniles that I work with," she said. "They're so fearful of the police, especially with the climate of the United States right now."
She works with the CPAC Juvenile Diversion Program and hopes to bring what she learns in this academy back to the troubled youth she works with. That is exactly what the police department is hoping for.
The point of all of it is preventing crime and problems like the ones plaguing police departments around the nation.