HOLLYWOOD, SC (WCSC) - The cops were called to Minnie Hughes Elementary School, but it is not what you think.
Students were able to hang out and have lunch with the Charleston County Sheriff's Department Thursday. Twelve fifth-graders swapped out eating in the cafeteria to eat their meal with a few CCSO deputies.
"On a monthly basis, our fifth-grade students have lunch with the deputies," Minnie Hughes parent advocate Willie Brooks said.
"You're just talking to them. You're not above them, they're just human beings," CCSO Major Eric Watson said. "We come out on a monthly basis and we have lunch with kids and we get to reach out to them, talk to them about different stuff, about what they're going through, school, opportunities, things that they want to do when they grow up."
"Usually I don't get to have lunch with police so this is a big thing," Minnie Hughes fifth grader Abril Yatayata said.
It is all part of the We Believe Project started by CCSO this past spring. Every month deputies head to a new school to hang out with students at lunch, to try and build trust between law enforcement and the community.
"There's a lot going on in the community and surrounding community, there's a lot going on in the world and I know that they're exposed to that," Brooks said. "I hope that they can go on in life and throughout school knowing that police officers are agents that help them."
"We want to get them to be comfortable with law enforcement, that's the goal," Watson explained. "It's very important for them to understand what law enforcement is all about and that, although law enforcement makes mistakes on occasion, the vast majority of us are good people."
Although the lunch is only about 30 minutes, the deputies make lasting impressions.
"They protect and they make everybody safe," Minnie Hughes fifth-grader Nyija Talley said.
"Cops inspire me too to become an FBI," Minnie Hughes fifth-grader Takiah Nottage said,
They are just dreading for that bell to ring.
"I just want to stay here and talk about everything," Yatayata told Watson.