It’s common for police department’s to hold citizen’s academies, giving people the chance to put themselves in the shoes of a police officer.
But now the Newington Police Department is offering the opportunity to teenagers.
The teens between the ages of 13 and 17 will learn about active shooter scenarios, classroom lessons, and K9 training in the first ever Newington Police Youth Academy.
"It's a lot harder than it seems because the reactions that you have to make are really fast,” said Nicholas Guadarrama, of Newington.
Funded by a donation from Keeney Manufacturing, the five-day academy gives the teens unique perspective on what it takes to be a police officer—with split-second decisions with your life on the line, and shows them it’s not always like what you see on television.
"We want to show them that it's a lot more difficult and the decision making and the requirements to be a police officer can be grueling,” said Newington Police Sgt. Chris Perry.
Part of the training also includes learning how to deploy a stun gun.
"It was nerve wracking at first but I can see how it would be helpful in situations,” said Alyssa Nadeau, of Newington.
Through hands-on experiences, the goal is to teach the children leadership, loyalty, discipline, and teamwork, all before they turn 18.
The hope is to bridge the gap between police and those in town.
"And leave them with the impression that police officers are good people and they do want to help them,” Perry said.
While it may only be year one, the Newington Police Department is building the future generation of officers and community leaders for years to come.
"Just to make the world a better place would be amazing,” Nadeau said.
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