Midlothian Junior Police Academy Engages Youth
MIDLOTHIAN – The Midlothian Police Department is offering students in grades 3rd to 5th and 6th and 7th a chance to learn the ropes this summer offering a Junior Police Academy, one series that took place in June and two additional classes to be held in mid-July.
Midlothian Police Chief Carl Smith did not respond to emails regarding the number of students enrolled in the classes this year or the ratio of interested students male and female, but at a city council meeting late last month he said “Our school resource officers are putting this on through the month of July and it is a good opportunity to bring in kids from our community from the Midlothian Independent School district where they are basically able to come in all day and do a variety of activities.
Smith said the Junior Police Academy was created in 2017 “We got two years in and then the pandemic hit so we shut down,” he explained.
He said there were roughly 80 that first year, but he did not know the number of students in the additional years who participated.
The Midlothian Junior Police Academy is used by the city’s Police Department to help connect students with law enforcement. It provides and opportunity for them to understand the intricacies of policing while also offering students a chance to experience what it is like to become a police officer. Junior Cadets, as the students are called, take part in physical training that includes competing in an obstacle course, self-defense tactics, hand-cuffing, and marching. The students also have the chance to take a first-hand look at tools used by Police Officers such as police equipment and Patrol and SWAT vehicles as well as fire apparatus.
Of course, with Uvalde on everyone’s mind Smith said that was also a conversation at the city’s Junior Police Academy this year too.
Active Shooter Exercises
“Regarding Uvalde, a week before Uvalde we had a full-scale exercise involving an active shooter at our football complex,” he explained. “We teach active shooter every year and we do a full week every other year and a refresher training every year.”
The Police Department normally teaches the active shooter training right before school starts.
“As our night shift comes back and reacquaints themselves with our schools, we make sure they have access cards and a chance to refamiliarize themselves with all the lock down procedures, so it is a very productive exercise for us,” Smith explained. “It is an ongoing effort for us, and we also have Tim Hicks in attendance and the Safety and Security Directors as well as one of our primary teachers in active shooter. We blend that so he is teaching the staff in how to react as well as teaching our staff how to react, overall, it is a very cohesive effort.”
2022 Cedar Hill Youth Summit
Cedar Hill also offers a seminar to acquaint children with law enforcement
While it is already closed for the summer in Cedar Hill, the city’s Youth Summit, which was free this year was also a chance for children ages 11 to 18 to participate in a positive experience engaging with that city’s police department.
During the three-day event, the participants were able to engage officers and volunteers in interactive sessions such as Self Defense Classes, Police K9 Demonstrations, Crime Scene Processing, Mental Health Awareness, the DWI Experience, a S.W.A.T. Field Day, Interacting with Police, and a Mock Trial by Cedar Hill Judge Petty.
The last day was “field day” where the kids participated in relay races wearing police gear, DWI drunk driving simulations, a tour of a police rescue vehicle and simulated training with paintball guns.
Grand Prairie’s Teen Police Academy
Another summer policing initiative held locally is the City of Grand Prairie’s Teen Police Academy. The Grand Prairie Police Department offered a free Teen Police Academy one week this summer as in summer’s past for students in 8th and 9th grader who are interested in learning about a career in law enforcement.
In that city students were asked to not only pass a background check, including school discipline referrals.
Topics covered at that academy included a look at the history of law enforcement, patrol procedures, crime scene investigation and K-9 and SWAT. The Grand Prairie PD also created a mock crime scene for student who were then allowed to use their new skills and knowledge to solve a crime.
Waxahachie Junior Police Academy to be held in July
The Waxahachie Junior Police Academy is also eager to educate students in law enforcement and are offering classes on July 18 to 20th for students in grade 3rd and 4th grade. A second academy will be held for students in 5th and 6th grade from July 25 to 27.
The cadets in Waxahachie’s Junior Police Academy are taught in the classroom and hands-on about the importance of team building as well as educational information concerning Police K9’s, Bomb Squad and K-9, Mock Crime Scene Investigations, Traffic stops, Processing Evidence, Fingerprinting, 911 Dispatch, and a SWAT demo.
Smith said on behalf of his department’s Junior Police Academy “Students are able to get acquainted with our law enforcement, so this is a very positive program, building a relationship with our kids overall.”
Overall, Smith’s remarks certainly sum up all the Best Southwest Police Department’s initiatives for the summer.