TAMPA (FOX 13) - Tuesday, dozens of kids and cops bonded while bagging groceries at Feeding Tampa Bay. It's all part of AMI Kids, a mentoring program spanning across nine states.
"They are mentoring our kids. They are breaking the ice, breaking down that barrier to show that law enforcement are people, too," AMI Kids' Heyward Golden said.
The bunch of officers and their mentees have been working together for more than nine weeks. Turns out, there's more behind the badge then many children thought.
Tampa police officer Gig Brown says that bond eventually opens up a critical dialogue.
"We're always in prevention mode and we're always trying to find new and innovative ways to find the core of the problem and find out why violence is so prevalent. In order to do that, we have to build that trust and that bond between them to get them to communicate with us," he said.
They're having a little fun while they're at it. AMI Kids says it's more than a mentorship- it's a lifeline to saving Tampa's high-risk youth.
"This is just one more phase to help get our kids over that hump," Golden said.
Tampa Police Department says they're committed to continuing to mentor those children long after these community projects are complete.