The Russellville Police Department is kicking off its Teen Police Academy, which is intended to grow a relationship between law enforcement and young people to better help break down the barriers that may exist. The also shows teens what police actually do on the job.

The academy will offer teens who participate the opportunity to learn 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.

This is the fifth year for the Teen Academy which accepts students between 13-18 years of age who attend either the Logan County or Russellville School Systems.

The class begins on June 17th lasting through the 21st and will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Applications can be picked up at Russellville Police Department or either of the schools in the front office and can be turned in to the same. You will also find the application attached on the Russellville Police Department Facebook Page.

Some of the activities students will participate in include morning calisthenics, simulated shooting drills, fingerprinting, handcuffing, stress endurance, crime scene investigation, baton training, and K-9 and verbal command. They will tour the justice center, the sheriff's office, and the emergency communications center and meet 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. Smith of the Russellville Police Department. Smith facilitates the class, along with other officers.

"We have always had a bunch of great kids in this program who are really eager to learn. We are trying to build a bridge between the youth and law enforcement," said Smith. "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."

Education is the key, says Smith. Teaching kids about staying in school, careers, college or military service are very important.

If you have transportation issues you can contact Detective Smith at 270-847-1003.