LEWISTON — “Watch and listen.”

That was FBI Agent Patrick Clancy’s advice to students attending a workshop designed to give them real-world lessons on how police do their jobs.

Officers from Lewiston and Portland, Lewiston Police Chief Brian O’Malley, FBI agents, and the U.S. attorney for Maine met at the Green Ladle restaurant with 43 high school and technical school students Tuesday.

They met as part of a statewide initiative launched in Lewiston by U.S. Attorney Halsey B. Frank to encourage trust between youths and law enforcement.

In one breakout session, students watched video simulations of how police should approach someone considered suspicious. In the first, a police officer asked a man outside a warehouse for identification. The man grew agitated, pulled out a gun and shot.

“How did it go?” Clancy asked.

Not good, students said. “He had his hands in back of him. The officer didn’t ask to see his hands,” one said.

In the second simulation, the officer demanded to see the man’s hands just as the man reached behind him. The officer pulled his gun. The man threw his hands up, dropping the gun. No shots were fired.

“What’s going to kill you in this job?” Clancy asked, then answered his question: “Hands. Hands are what’s going to kill you. Watch what they’re doing with their hands. Give them good verbal commands.”

The program is called TRUST, short for Teach Mutual Respect and Understanding Through Simulation.

“The objective is to improve understanding between law enforcement and young people by giving them role-playing of law enforcement officers in various situations, and to give law enforcement the opportunity to interact with young people” in teaching situations, Frank said.

The program was created in response to the nationwide rise in shootings by and of police officers.

“It is my hope we will bring it to many schools across the state and work with many police agencies in Maine,” Frank said.

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