CRESTVIEW — A welcome by the chief, a glimpse at a mammoth rescue vehicle, a peek at a practice session with the drone, a tour of the Crestview Police Department’s Whitehurst Municipal Building headquarters and a chance to climb around a police car kicked off the first session of the 2017 Crestview Police Youth Academy.
Unanticipated demand for the annual week-long introduction to law enforcement required Community Services Officers Wanda Hulion and Sam Simmons to set up a second academy the following week. Graduation for both academies will be Friday, Aug. 4.
In the vehicle bay, the kids saw the agency’s giant rescue vehicle. Officers can use the government-surplus truck to wade through flood waters, act as a protective shield in an active-shooter situation, extract wounded residents or officers from a hazardous environment, and shelter members of the Police Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics—S.W.A.T.—team within its armored passenger compartment.
Outside, the kids watched as officers trained in the use of the agency’s drone in preparation for the F.A.A. pilot’s license test, then toured police headquarters, visiting the officers’ training classroom, the evidence and investigations department. They also met Deputy Police Chief Rick Brown.
When Officer Corey Newcomb visited the class, several students volunteered to experience being handcuffed as they and their classmates learned about the assortment of equipment a typical patrol officer carries.
When the session moved to Newcomb’s his patrol car the kids got to sit in the front and the less comfortable back seat, which is normally occupied by people who’ve been arrested.
During the rest of the week, the academy students will learn about police departments and services, including dispatch, S.W.A.T., internet safety, narcotics safety, crime scene, and K9 units. They will also meet firefighters from the Crestview Fire Department and examine their equipment.
While it’s a lot to squeeze into a 12-hour academy, many of the kids aspire to careers in law enforcement and for them, it’s a great overview of what the profession entails.