NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – New Bern has implemented a 12-week program designed to build relationships between officers and middle school students through learning how to play chess.

New Bern Police Chief Patrick Gallagher says he hopes this program will help re-brand how the community sees law enforcement officers.

“I want them to see the police department as their advocates and as their friends. no matter what they hear in terms of a national conversation about police officers,” Gallagher said. “I want them to be able to say no, I know a police officer and this is what the New Bern police department is all about.

After Monday’s kickoff, the club will meet each Monday at 5:30 p.m. at the substation inside the New Bern Mall. The department has plans to host this program twice per year.