Nineteen Teens Graduate Jr. Tupelo Police Academy
TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – Nearly twenty teenagers throughout Northeast Mississippi have spent the past two weeks immersed in the world of law enforcement.
As WCBI’s Allie Martin reports, the annual Junior Police Academy allows participants to see what it really takes to be a top cop.
For these cadets, the last two full weeks of summer vacation have been full of hard work at the North Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Center.
The Tupelo Police Department hosts the Junior Police Academy. Seventeen boys and two girls make up the 2015 class. They learn all aspects of police work, from cadence marching, how to safely handle and fire a weapon, and the importance of not only protecting the public, but also serving.
They spent a couple of afternoons cleaning up debris from last year’s tornado at Elvis Presley Lake.
“After the tornado we figured it would be a good activity for the Junior Police Academy to come up here and help out the community sir,” said Cadet Clay Wagers.
Cadets learn about different career paths for law enforcement officers.
“There’s so many different divisions you can be a part of, you’re not stuck to one, thing your whole 25 or 30 year career,” said TPD Officer Neil Naron, a school resource officer who organizes the Junior Police Academy.
“I’ve got 19 young men and women who have given up the last two weeks of their summer to come here, to work hard, sweat, be out in the sun, to clean up after themselves, make their own meals, make their own beds, learn about discipline, get yelled at, so I’m just really really proud of these guys,” Officer Naron said.
For cadets, the experience is rewarding and educational.
“I didn’t know they had to go through such an in depth training like they do and to know that , it really blew my mind,” said Cadet Demarcus Owens.
“I wanted more of a challenge because I never have really been put into anything but football, that’s the only challenge for me so far until now, this has been a great challenge for me, guys here are awesome, officers who stay with us, are great people,”said Cadet James Murphy.
This academy also helps bridge the gap between young people and police officers.
“The more people who know what we actually do in our line of work, the better off we will be,” Naron said.
The Tupelo Police Department has hosted a Junior Police Academy since 2000.