KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Hundreds of teens were surrounded by dozens of Kansas City police officers and F.B.I. agents on Tuesday night. It wasn't a prom-night mishap, but a friendly conversation over pizza that brought these groups together.
"It gives law enforcement an opportunity to meet with the community they serve," Eric Jackson, Special Agent in Charge of the Kansas City’s F.B.I. Division said.
Agent Jackson wanted to put the teen and law enforcement forum together for its second year because he believes it makes a difference.
"Having the kids here, we're not only hoping that as the children interact with us that they go back to school and they give a different perspective to their classmates of- ‘Hey I spent the night with the FBI, and it was fun, I did a lot of great things,’" said Jackson.
A majority of the teens said indeed, it gave them a new appreciation for law enforcement.
"I think it's a great opportunity for all of us," said Keiran Lingla.
"I feel like more teens will have a different outlook on police officers after they leave here," said Lacy Smith.
Some teens said they didn't have the best feelings about police officers at first, but that wasn't the case for Matt Borgmeyer.
"I want to just start off as a police officer, and see what opportunities I can take from there," said Borgmeyer.
He came to research his future career, and after Tuesday night, more teens may be doing the same, or at least they may be more open to trusting officers.
"We want to keep that dialogue going. We don't want to wait for any incident to happen or anything. We just want to have constant dialogue with the community they serve," said Jackson.