Young Residents Learn Full Scope of Police Work at Annual Training Event

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Nearly 70 possible police officers, ranging in age from 11-13, learned the ins and outs of   being a police officer as well as personal responsibility and accountability. The 16th Annual Junior Police Academy took place the week of August 5 at the Jefferson Township Middle and High Schools.

Officer Christopher Fabian and Records Clerk Erin Ackerly organized the program, with the primary goal of building bonds and trust between the police and the community. The weeklong academy is open to students in grades six through eight (11-13 years old). There are first and second year cadets, as well as third year instructors. Instructors must apply for the position and go through an interview process to be selected. The cadets wear color coded shirts with yellow for first year, blue, for second year, light blue for instructors.

This year featured a new activity, the Use of Force Simulator, Police and Security Mobile Training Lab. The simulator presents real-life scenarios where cadets need to react to what is happening on screen. They begin each scenario with a dispatcher letting them know what the call is, and they enter with their guns drawn, announcing themselves as police and for the suspects to surrender. In most cases the suspects are armed and this requires the cadets to react with their weapons. After each exercise the instructor goes over the simulation and lets the cadets know what they did right and wrong.

Another new activity this year was the DWI simulation. Cadets wore fatal vision goggles to impair their vision and drove the vehicles through a set of cones. The exercise demonstrated how difficult it is to drive impaired.

The weeklong camp also included physical training, a visit to the Police Academy, self-defense exercises, polygraph testing, an introduction to the K-9 bomb squad, firearms safety lessons, and other activities. The cadets learn personal responsibility and accountability and had a good time with friends and the police officers.

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