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Gun Violence Class Looks To Change Teens' Future

Posted at 11:06 PM, Jul 27, 2017

It's never too late to turn your life around. That was one encouraging message offered to our city's teens Thursday night at the Davidson County Juvenile Detention Center.

About 30 teens attended a weapons safety class put on by the detention center and the Metro Nashville Police Department.

The two-hour class gives teens with a criminal past a chance to start thinking about different ways to do right. 

"A Metro Police officer will come out and talk to teens who have a weapons charge or are identified as high risk" said probation officer Jessica Robertson.

The class also consists of educational information about weapons and real-life stories from people who have walked in the shoes of these young people.

Robertson said guest speakers encourage the teens to turn their lives around. 

"It's been pretty successful. Kind of helping them to realize the mistakes that they have made and not only how it affects them, but the victims and the victim's families as well.

Robert Sherrill, who was born and raised in Nashville and has a criminal past, was Thursday's guest speaker. 

Sherrill, who is in his late 30s, spoke to the teens about his past life and his run-ins with law enforcement.

He currently is the CEO and president of a Imperial Cleaning Services, a janitorial cleaning company in Nashville.

Sherrill told the teens not everyone can turn their lives around but he encouraged them to find a positive role model and start to make a conscious effort to do better with their lives.

"This is not the end of the road change is possible. For some reason or another in their heads they think that once they commit a crime that it's nothing they can do about it and there's no coming back so they just keep going. So I want to share with them from what I've been through," he said.

Sgt. Harold Wells initiated the class a few years ago.

"A number of them have been in very, very negative situations, made some not so good decisions and have gotten themselves in juvenile court. We have to start someone to change their minds," Wells said.

Wells said the class is very effective to get the participants to think what has happened in their past. 

At the end of each class, participates receive a certificate showing their completion.