Six students participated in the first Teen Police Academy last week, sponsored by the Russellville Police Department, the Logan County Sheriff’s Department and the South Central Kentucky Drug Task Force. Those who participated learned numerous skills law enforcement possess, as well as realizing they can relate to police officers as people with families and lives trying to help the public instead of being the enemy.
The class began Monday, June 8 and lasted a week. Some of the activities students participated in included: morning calisthenics, simulated shooting drills, finger printing, handcuffing, stress endurance, crime scene investigation, baton training, K-9 and verbal command. They also toured the justice center, sheriff’s office and emergency communications center. They met with the circuit judge, court designated worker, and a Burden Bearers Chaplain.
“This program shows young people what we as police officers go through and lets them know we are here to help them if they need it,” said Sgt. Mary L. Moore of the Russellville Police Department. Moore facilitated the class with fellow officers SRO Vince Brown and SRO Robert Bubacz.
“These were a bunch of great kids who really were eager to learn. We are trying to build a bridge between the youth and law enforcement,” said Moore. “We are not just a uniform. We want them to know they do not need to be afraid of us, but instead know we are here for help.”
Bubacz believes education is the key. Teaching kids about staying in school, careers, college or military service is very important.
The Teen Police Academy is something Moore, Brown and Bubacz have been working on for the past two years to get implemented. They felt there was a Police Academy for the adults, so why not for the youth.
“People really don’t know what we do,” said Brown. “This way the kids can experience what we go through and then can share it with their parents who can then come and experience it for themselves at the adult academy.