You've got to be in good shape to catch the bad guys.
The first day of Youth Academy for students features a lot of exercise. About 20 youngsters, most of them from Mount Pleasant, are in the three-week academy this year. Participants do a lot of jumping jacks, push-ups and other sweat-inducing workouts. Their "drill sergeant," Mount Pleasant Police Sgt. Andrew Latham, has been with the program for a few years and is now heading up the academy.
"It's another chance to work with the youth of the community, and to teach positive things to them and be a role model for them," said Latham.
One mom TV5 spoke with can't say enough good things about the program. "This is my third son who's attending the police academy, and I think it's fantastic," said Kristi Fuller. "It teaches great character, great citizenship and a level of responsibility that you don't get from regular school."
The kids learn all kinds of things about law enforcement, including marine patrol, dive rescue, finger printing and the court system. TV5's Craig McMorris reported they seemed pretty pumped about it.
"Well, my sister did it and she said that it was really fun, and I thought that it would be a cool new experience to do [too]," said academy attendee Taylor Wood.
One might think that all the kids involved in the academy are considering going into law enforcement as a career, but that's not necessarily the case.
"So you're thinking about becoming a policeman when you grow up?" asked McMorris of one attendee. "Uh....no," said Wyatt Kautz.
Then again, there's a volunteer assistant, Albertino Schultz, who'd love to be a guy in blue.
"I feel like I need to protect somebody, and that's the citizens of wherever I'm gonna be," explains Schultz.
TV5 asked Officer Laura Rico what she thinks about the fact that one of these kids could serve with her one day. "I think that would be neat, that would be exciting," said Rico. This is the 12th year for the academy and there's no charge for the kids.
Copyright WNEM 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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