The Junior Police Academy will be held at the Gate City Middle School-High School campus and consist of two separate weeklong courses. The first will run from June 17 to 21, while the second session is scheduled for the week of July 15.
The courses are duplicated, Gate City Police Chief Tim Birchfield said, to better accommodate the summer vacation plans of students and their families.
Birchfield said the academy will be open to area youth, both male and female, between the ages of 14 and 17.
The program, Birchfield said, is geared toward students who have an interest in pursuing a possible career in law enforcement.
Birchfield added that the courses are also designed to “take the mystery out of police procedures and policies” by educating cadets on police officers’ duties and their role in society.
“The purpose of the Junior Police Academy is to provide a service to the youth of this area by allowing them to see firsthand what a police officer does on a daily basis and to give them the opportunity to discover if this is a career they might want to pursue,” Birchfield said. “It will also aid in adding potential candidates to the Gate City and Weber City Police Department’s future hiring process.”
Those who attend will take part in four, five-hour-long classes beginning at 9 a.m. Monday through Thursday. Each course will wrap up with a Friday evening graduation ceremony.
During the four days of instruction, Birchfield said cadets will undergo “a real police academy” experience.
Although its not as comprehensive or demanding, the cadets will learn the same skills, Birchfield said.
Topics covered during the courses include crime scene investigations, traffic stops, DUI enforcement and police use-of-force, as well as other areas of law enforcement.
Several guest speakers from local, regional and state law enforcement agencies will also attend at various times throughout the week to meet with cadets and provide hands-on demonstrations.
Birchfield said anyone interested in attending the academy can find out more information, or an application, by contacting the school offices of all three county high schools. Interested students can also contact either the Gate City Police Department at (276) 386-6363 or the Weber City Police Department at (276) 386-1369.
Applications will be accepted on a first come, first served basis, Birchfield said. All attendees must also have their parents’ approval and a signed release of responsibility form.