A Missouri Sheriff’s Department is giving middle schoolers the chance to learn about law enforcement by hosting a junior police academy this summer.
The academy is part of the law enforcement career path program in the North Kansas City School District.
Thirty students from the district took part in the week-long program to learn about the profession.
Clay County Sheriff’s Department deputies recently spoke about the summer program on Fox and Friends.
Clay County Deputy Sheperd Owens and Corporal Guy McCulley said the goal is to foster relationships with young people in the community while encouraging them to consider a career in law enforcement.
“We try to make it a point to show them that there’s a different side than what’s shown about us every day,” McCulley said.
The officers credited the academy to its strong partnership with the North Kansas City School District.
“We have a great partnership with the North Kansas City School District, so with their help, we were able to change a lot of perspective [sic] on us and get involved in the community a lot,” McCully said. “It’s helped us a lot.”
For 8th graders Damien Perez and Alaya Owens, the academy was a great opportunity to learn about law enforcement.
“I learned a lot of hands-on activities like how to do a felony stop, a lot of car stops. We also learned about how to write reports and a lot of other things,” Perez said.
Owens, whose uncle is a police officer, said she joined the academy because she wants to be an officer when she grows up.
“I really want to help people,” she said.
“There’s a lot to learn. It’s a lot to get into, but it’s really cool.”
Her favorite part was getting to meet the police K-9s.
Owens was happy to show kids that police officers are human beings, too.
“Any opportunity that we can go out there and make a difference and show people what we’re truly here for and erase some of those stigmas that have been placed on us, [it’s] always a good thing,” Owens said.