Craig Day, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- Tulsa's police and community coalition held a youth forum to get an important message across to high schoolers: That they can't have a positive future when they're involved in negative activities.
"We don't need you locked up, young men," said Marvin Blades, TPS Police Officer
This was the message of officer Marvin Blades as he talked to high school students. A message he hopes sinks in and makes a difference.
"Oh I hear it all the time, 'Oh I got five kids.' But you aren't taking care of any of them. Not one," Blades said.
It's straight talk about responsibility, education and doing the right thing.
"We need you raising your families; we need you being there for your children. And we need you positive and available for your communities," he told the students.
Marvin Blades is one of the officers interacting with teens from most all of Tulsa's High Schools at a special youth forum by the Mayor's Police and Community Coalition.
Students get to know officers better, learn about community policing, and hear positive and powerful messages and advice.
"They should want to graduate and do better things," said 10th grader Devin Duckett.
"Stay in school and get an education. Stay away from drugs and negative things in life," said 9th grader Billy Owens.
As a Tulsa Police Officer for 31 years, and now a TPS officer for four years, Marvin Blades has seen the consequences from those negative things in life. Over the years, he's attended more than 100 funerals for gang members.
"I know you can't live like that and expect to live a long time," Blades said.
Instead, Blades and the other officers want the students to live long, happy, healthy lives. But the journey begins with good decisions.
"Go ahead and do your drive by, but let's drive by a church and meet God. Let's drive by a school and get yourself an education. To me those are important," Blade said.
Blades also says the forum is important, and it's critical for these students to share what they've learned with their peers back at their high schools.
Organizers are looking into duplicating the forum, and tailoring it to be held at McClain High School and possibly other high schools in Tulsa.