Three of the students at the July session of Teen Academy described their week at the Public Safety Academy in Nokesville as “cool.”
Two said the week they spent learning about law enforcement techniques such as SWAT operations, defensive tactics, media relations, hostage negotiations and firearms demonstrations was “excellent.”
One said the experience, designed to expose area high school students to workings of the Prince William Police Department, was “phenomenal.”
Another said she thought the course had been educational and one of the students said he thought the course had been “nifty.”
Prince William Police Chief Charlie T. Deane spoke to the students during a graduation ceremony Friday.
“I hope you learned something about your police department and how we operate,” Deane said, “As you’ve gone through this I hope you had good time.”
Before the ceremony, officer Dean Goodwin, one of the academy instructors, said he thought the students enjoyed the course.
“I’d say defensive tactics was one of their favorite things to do,” Goodwin said.
Thane Keller is considering a career in the U.S. Air Force after he graduates from high school. He said he wants to go into Combat Control, an Air Force special operations unit, but the SWAT demonstration might make him reconsider his future plans.
“I’m more interested in the military, but this is definitely an option,” the 17-year-old Gainesville resident said of a career in law enforcement.
Jiminese Spencer said she gained an appreciation for what police do as she learned about emergency communications, automobile accident investigations and court proceedings.
“I learned that it’s hard work. You have to pay attention and you have to love what you do,” Spencer, 15, of Woodbridge said.
Class leader, Chris MacDonald agreed with Spencer.
“We’ll walk away from here with a newfound respect for the police department,” the 15-year-old Woodbridge resident said.
Eight students signed up for the latest session, the academy’s Sgt. Kathy Tolson said, but the Teen Academy can accommodate many more students.
“We’re trying to target around 25 students for the August session,” Tolson said of the academy which will hold the next session Aug. 5-9.
Tolson said students must get two referrals from local business leaders, their schools or members of the clergy.
Students who are interested in the course must complete an application, receive a parent’s permission, have a 2.5 grade point average and an interest in police work, Tolson said.
For application information and requirements, call Joan Webster at (703) 792-7229.