Police use "game show" as education tool with youth
Metro Police are trying a new way to reach teenagers and help stop the surge in youth violence in our city.
They taught kids about crime and punishment, using the rules of the familiar game show "Jeopardy!"
In a room full of Indianapolis teens at the Ransburg YMCA Tuesday, teens played a fun game about serious subjects: conduct at school, police interaction, crime and punishment.
What's the law and how can teens stay on the right side of it? It's the kind of stuff kids face on the streets, but don't necessarily learn in school.
"We learn 'Don't drink and drive' and 'Make sure you're wearing a seat belt,' but that's about as close as we get. They don't tell us, like, what happens if you're caught with a gun or something and it's not yours?" said 16-year-old Marjorie Warner.
Enter "Juvenile Justice Jeopardy!" an interactive computer game modeled after the TV show. Kids answer questions and play for prizes, all to teach them about the consequences of crime and how to build a brighter future.
It's a first in Indianapolis and Metro Police say it's a new way to reach kids before it's too late.
"The decisions that they make can make all the difference whether or not they get a good job or end up behind bars," explained Metro Police Officer Candi Perry with East District Community Relations.
During the game, there's real talk about real life.
But it isn't just about crime and punishment. It's also a chance for teens to interact with police in a positive way.
IMPD Chief Rick Hite shook hands with kids and talked to them about their futures and why police aren't the enemy.
"You have a friend in the police department," Hite told them.
That message seemed to sink in.
"In real life, you see them on the street you think, 'I don't wanna run into them' and now after this program, we can be like, 'Yeah, it's okay if I run into them'," said one teenager at the program.
They are life lessons learned in a series of questions and answers, in hopes of keeping kids out of trouble.
Two local businessmen paid for the Jeopardy! computer game to be used by Metro Police. Officers hope to bring it to a lot more youth at churches, schools and clubs in the coming months.