GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A Coast radio station and Gulfport law enforcement teamed up on Wednesday to remind students of the consequences of their choices.
JZ 94.5 and Gulfport police presented 'Crime and Consequences' at Gulfport Central and Bayou View middle schools. JZ 94.5 Vice President Tabari Daniels said criminal culture is often sensationalized on television and in movies.
"We feel like it can't happen to us until it does. And then all of a sudden, things become real," Daniels said. "What we're trying to do is make things real before it gets to the point where they break the law."
District Attorney Joel Smith used stories to show students how even the smallest choices can impact their lives.
"To be able to come in and to echo some of the things they're hearing from administrators and teachers and also to shed a different perspective from what it's like in the court system and the criminal justice system, can help these kids as they make different decisions," Smith said.
It was also about bridging the gap. At the end of the program, Chief Leonard Papania gave students his personal cell phone number and encouraged them to use it before they make a choice that could change their entire life.
"I don't know what seed was planted here today, but time is going to tell. And I'll tell you historically from me doing this, it's always yielded great results, and so I'm excited. And you never know when you're going to have an opportunity to reach out and change a kid," he said.
The presentations are part of a long-term effort between JZ 94.5 and law enforcement that started in 2016.