SHELBY, N.C. - Coach Norman's driver's education class at Shelby High School is teaching more than how to parallel park or properly execute a three-point-turn.
Call it the 'Pull Over Program,' with Shelby Crime Prevention officer, Matt Melvin, leading the charge.
"They know that day, ‘Hey we’re going to do traffic stops that day and you’re going to be stopped,'" said Norman, the former Shelby head football coach who won three state championships.
Melvin and Norman have collaborated to teach the future drivers what to do when getting pulled over by a police officer.
"It's so they don't get that sinking feeling when you get the blue lights," said Melvin, who's not only teaching the kids how to deal with the men in uniform but also hoping to bridge the gap between people and police.
"This may just be a good way to let the kids understand, this is why we do what we do," said Melvin. "It's all about public safety."
With Norman riding shotgun and the student drivers behind the wheel, Melvin flashes his blue lights and pulls the student over in a place without traffic.
"Even though they know they’re not getting a ticket, they’re just as nervous when I pull them over. You can see it in their eyes," said Melvin as he recalls the first time a student gets pulled over. "As we interact and talk, you can see their body language change."
Norman says the students have been very receptive to the idea, and Melvin thinks it could be a great way to build trust among people and police.
“Building a bond with the community as a patrol officer is probably the most important thing you can do," said Melvin.
The program is part of a bill that passed early this past spring.
Cleveland County is so impressed with how Shelby is running the ship, Melvin says they're looking at adding it to the high schools.
He also added that he's fielded calls from other police departments who are looking to implement the program.
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