MIAMI COUNTY — Most teenagers don’t spend their free time after school learning how to safely conduct a traffic stop or how to negotiate in a volatile hostage situation.
On Tuesday, 11 local students graduated from the Miami County Sheriff’s Office second class of Teen Citizen Police Academy.
“The deputies have just as much teaching it as the kids do learning it,” said Sheriff Dave Duchak. The teen academy was held once a week since March 6 and exposed students to a variety of aspects of what it takes to be in the law enforcement field and its diverse a career path.
On Tuesday, Deputy Warren Edmondson and Lt. Todd Tennant guided students through the art of a successful hostage negotiation. Each teen took turns on how to listen for certain cues and language which helps law enforcement determine their next steps during a highly volatile incident.
Jacob Apple, 17, a junior at Bethel High School, said he attended the Teen Citizen Police Academy to gain more experience about the law enforcement field. Apple said he plans on joining the U.S. Marines after he graduates, but is interested in pursuing a career as a police officer after active duty.
“It’s been a very good experience,” Apple said. “It helps you understand what they go through on a daily basis.” Apple said his favorite session of the academy was learning how to conduct traffic stops.
Sophia Guzman, 14, a freshmen at Bethel High School, said she’s been interested in police work since she was little.
Guzman said she signed on to the program to learn more about the field of work and its variety of careers. Her favorite sessions included traffic stops, narcotics and how to collect fingerprints. Guzman said she’s considering a career in forensics or in a crime lab.
“I gained a lot of knowledge and got to see what its like to be a sheriff’s deputy and how they help people every day,” Guzman said.
Travis Chesnut, 17, a junior at Graham High School, said he has wanted to be in law enforcement ever since he was in first grade and plans to attend Edison State’s police academy when he finishes high school.
“I really got a good look at what it takes and learning how they do their jobs. It was a good learning experience,” Chesnut said. “This made up my mind that I definitely want to go into this field.”
Chesnut said he enjoyed the special response and tactical response sessions and how officers must work as a team during those incidents.
“What they go through day to day is a lot more than what you think,” he said. Chesnut said if students his age are interested in the law enforcement field, they should take advantage of the Teen Citizen Academy next time it is offered.
Aly Jordan, 19, a freshman at Edison State Community College, said she signed up to learn more about the forensics side of law enforcement.
“I like the science part of it all and seeing how everything works,” Jordan said. Jordan said she enjoyed learning more about drug investigations and the toxicology side of police investigations.
“Law enforcement is similar to the medical field — there’s a lot you can do with it,” Jordan said.
The following students participated in the Teen Citizen’s Police Academy: Austin Messaros, Hanna Flora, Lawrence Hurtt, Garrett Stevens, Jacob Apple, Rileah Branscomb, Sophia Guzman, Aly Jordan, Nichole Hood and Travis Chesnut.
The Teen Citizen’s Police Academy is open to juniors and seniors who attend high school in Miami County. Students learn about crime investigation, security detail, tour courtrooms and the jail, use of force and response to resistance tactics, Taser demonstration, weapons and safety, crisis intervention, road patrol, crash reconstruction, and more.
An academy is planned for Spring 2020. Applications and more information can be found online at www.miamicountysheriff.org.
Reach Melanie Yingst at firstname.lastname@example.org
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