TAPS program helps students learn conflict resolution, better understanding of police

Tuscaloosa PD TAPS graduation
(Source: Kelvin Reynolds/WBRC)
(Source: Kelvin Reynolds/WBRC)

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - Tuscaloosa Police officers gave high fives to teenagers like Annwin Crocker who graduated from the department's first TAPS class.

"Just the conversations they had. They seemed to genuinely be there for us," Crocker said.

TAPS stands for Teens And Police Service academy.

During the eight-week program, kids learned more about things including conflict resolution, self esteem and having a better relationship with police.

Omar Childers learned more about some of these officers personally.

He now says they're not as bad as he once believed.

"When I came in the program, we developed a relationship with all our officers. So now I like them. They're not here to hurt us. They're here to help us," Childers explained.

Police hope these kids are now better prepared to succeed in school and their communities.

"They know now, there's some better ways to handle a conflict other than resulting to violence. They know now to walk away and use other means to get their point across," according to Lt. Teena Richardson.

The police department says it hopes to fine tune the TAPS program and expose it to more kids in Tuscaloosa City Schools in the next school year.

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