East Baton Rouge Sheriff's deputies and Baton Rouge police officers teamed up with teens from AMIkids Baton Rouge alternative school this week to pack lunches for people in need.

Officers in uniform worked side-by-side with the at-risk youth at the nonprofit Society of St. Vincent de Paul in preparing the lunches, part of AMIkids new "breaking barriers" program. The program is designed to build mutual respect and communication between the two groups through positive interactions.

Sixteen-year-old Tristan Raborn wore a hairnet with BRPD Corporal Renata Stokes as they slapped together sandwiches to fill the lunch sacks.

Raborn said he had previous interactions with law enforcement, and he wasn't so sure if they were all "cool." But Thursday morning, he talked with Stokes about his goals to go to welding school and how he was trying to learn from his mistakes in the past.

"We all go through the point where we have to learn," Stokes said to him, smiling.

Emiya Smith, 14, said she had never spoken to a law enforcement officer before, but by the end of stuffing bags with juice, snacks and applesauce, she was laughing with sheriff's deputy Keyira Johnson.

"These kids are great," Johnson said. "It's a great thing to let them know we're human, we're not just a badge, and find some commonalities."

American Airlines bringing larger planes to BR Airport

American Airlines is increasing the number of larger passenger jets it uses at Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, the airport announced this week.

Travelers flying to Dallas and to Charlotte, North Carolina, will be more likely to board larger planes starting in April, which is when they will be added to the Baton Rouge Airport's flight schedule.

The increase will make 10 out of 12 flights to Dallas on the larger planes, a step up from the current six out of 12 ratio. This will also be the first time the jets will be used for flights to Charlotte, with four out of six of those flights being on the larger planes.

“We have been encouraging all of the BTR airlines to add larger aircraft for a number of years, and we appreciate that they have made this investment in our community,” said BTR Interim Airport Director Ralph Hennessy in a statement. “They will provide additional seating options for our passengers, and much needed capacity on these important hub routes.”

Advocate staff writers Grace Toohey and Andrea Gallo contributed to this article.