KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)-- Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch said several young, black men have a distorted view of law enforcement officers that has been passed down to them from their family members.
Chief Rausch insisted the negative depiction of police doesn't have to exist. He added his department's number one goal is to ensure that everyone makes it home safely.
The chief's goal influenced the creation of Knoxville's Save Our Sons initiative. The initiative, now in it's fifth year, aims to connect young, men and boys of color with mentors, resources, education and training to achieve a prosperous future.
One of the initiative's primary focuses is laying the foundation for a better relationship between African American men and the police.
Chief Rausch said Mayor Madeline Rogero played an integral role in Save Our Sons' creation after she learned more about inner city violence.
"She came back and asked me to look at the numbers and what we found was in 2012, 90 percent of homicides with a firearm were African American males 14-24 on African American males 14-24, and that became very concerning for us," said Chief Rausch.
As part of it's push to create a safer and more inclusive environment, Save Our Son's organized an event that gave young men the opportunity to participate in simulated traffic stops and a mock court room hearing to learn about their rights.
Above all, Chief Rausch said the number one goal for his officers is to protect and serve everyone in the community.