A group of Vestal High School students are getting a jump start on their future career path. The school is holding its first ever Youth Police Academy this summer. Our Melissa Kakareka tells us what skills the students are learning as a part of the program.
VESTAL, N.Y. -- Kevin Franz wants to pursue a career in law enforcement.
"I want to go into law enforcement because it interests me. My dad and uncle are both police officers, so it just interests me," said Vestal High School junior Kevin Franz.
He is one of 16 Vestal High School students participating in a two week long Youth Police Academy that's being piloted between the school and the Vestal Police Department. Students listen to speakers and participate in a number of activities including fitness training, self defense and more. The goal is to show the students what it takes to become a police officer.
"Even as early as yesterday, some heads were spinning about we do and what we actually respond to here in Vestal. I think they need to understand you are not just a police officer, you are a marriage counselor, psychiatrist, so it’s definitely something you need to prepare for mentally and physically if you want to be a police officer," said Vestal Police Patrolman Stace Kintner.
The program also focuses on teaching students leadership and teamwork.
"What I think is great and is going to be excellent for the community, is empowering them to recognize certain situations, do the right thing, if they are involved in something that at this point they may or may not know what to do," said Kintner.
Skills that can be used in uniform as well as in school and the community in the future.
Officials say they hope to continue the Youth Police Academy Program again next year.