Youth sought for Public Safety Academy

Published 8:47 pm Saturday, February 2, 2013

Participants in last year’s Suffolk Youth Public Safety Academy learn how to dust for fingerprints. The program is intended for at-risk youth between the ages of 13 and 17. They are exposed to firefighting and law enforcement careers.

The deadline for applications to attend the sixth Suffolk Youth Public Safety Academy has been extended to 5 p.m. Feb. 15.

The academy is limited to 18 Suffolk youth, and there is no cost to participants.

The Academy is a 10-week, after-school program, beginning Feb. 28, and focused on at-risk youth between the ages of 13 and 17. Students gain hands-on experience on what it is like to be a police officer, firefighter, and CSI technician.

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Participating youth are mentored by police officers and firefighters while experiencing the value of teamwork and social responsibility. Lessons and activities include topics such as how to use fire hoses, arson investigations, police K-9 teams, fingerprint evidence, forensics, stress management and more. Youth will also be treated to a day trip/team building exercise.

Each week, participants are exposed to service learning, which can teach them how they can make a difference in their community. The goal of the program is to provide positive role models, build interest in public safety professions, and increase confidence by expanding experiences.

Applications are available from School Resource Officers, the Kings Fork Public Safety Center (300 Kings Fork Road), Suffolk Police Headquarters (111 Henley Place), Suffolk Parks & Recreation offices, and Juvenile Intake. Applications may also be obtained by contacting Fire Investigator Pam King at 514-4542, or Detective Joyce Williams at 514-7942.

Applications will be reviewed, and each applicant will be interviewed at school by the Academy’s mentors to decide who will be chosen to fill the 18 participant slots. Applicants are also asked to write a 100-word essay to detail why they would like to attend the academy. Chosen participants are expected to abide by all rules during the session. This program is structured to include a positive learning experience, fun and discipline.

The program will begin with an orientation for the participant and one parent or guardian on Feb. 28 and run through the week of May 9. Sessions are set for 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., each Tuesday and Thursday. There will be no classes the week of spring break, April 1-5.

A graduation celebration will be held the week of May 14 for all participants who successfully complete the academy.

Transportation is provided to and from the program by the Suffolk Parks and Recreation Department. Youth will be picked up from their respective schools and transported to the King’s Fork Public Safety Center, where the Academy is held. Meals and snacks are provided at each session.