FAIRBORN — Ten local sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth grade students received a first-hand look at the basic workings of law enforcement June 12-15 during the Fairborn Police Department’s Youth Academy course.
The “cadets” were introduced to topics concerning probable cause, Miranda rights, police searches, their fourth, fifth and sixth amendment rights, crash investigation, evidence gathering and detective work, among others. Fairborn School Resource Officer Nate Penrod said the academy served as a means of building community relations and introduced participants to career options in the future.
“It opens them up to different opportunities for them,” he said. “They have a better understanding of law enforcement careers.”
They investigated a staged crime scene of their own during the course, which was a car. Penrod said the cadets were tasked with properly collecting evidence and taking photos as he stood by to ensure they were gathering the necessary information. Cadets also had the opportunity to visit with the department’s only current K-9 Unit, Bac, and hear from an ACE Task Force detective on narcotics investigations.
Before starting the free course, students had to undergo an application process, which included a one-page essay that asked why they want to participate in the Youth Academy.
“We’re hopeful to bring it back every year,” Penrod said.
The Youth Academy was previously offered by the City of Fairborn until budget cuts took place in 2009. However, Penrod said council prioritized the Youth Academy and city officials are now considering incorporating an advanced Youth Academy course, which would build upon topics learned in the introductory course and include more details on the inner happenings of law enforcement.
On the last day of the Youth Academy, students learned about crash investigations and had the opportunity to try on “beer goggles” just before their family members arrived to watch them graduate from the course. All attendees were invited to then eat pizza before the cadets participated in a water balloon fight to replicate the fitness regiment police officers must undergo before starting the job.
Local adults interested in learning about the inner workings of the Fairborn Police Department could consider participating in the 12-week Citizens Police Academy course, which is offered January through March each year. Participants in the Citizens Police Academy gather for a few hours once per week and learn various topics on law enforcement, such as some that replicate the Youth Academy course and more. Those who complete the course by attending each week will receive a certificate of completion.
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532. Find her on Twitter by searching for @FDHWhitney.