Police Academy educates students

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By Sal LaFata
Meridian Times staff writer

The Meridian Police Department is seeking applicants for the 2011 Youth Citizens’ Academy.

The academy is a free program that was started in February, 2006, by the police department.

“We have had four previous programs and the response from the people attending has been very good,” said Lt. Greg Frenger.

Students from area high schools are encouraged to apply for the academy, which is modeled from the Citizens’ Academy that Meridian police host in the fall. The program is open to non-residents.

The course is seven weeks long, with classes held every Thursday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and runs from Feb. 24 to April 7. The class is held at the police department, according to Aaron Hubbard, a fraud investigator for Meridian Police.

During the course, students receive instruction in crime scene investigation, traffic enforcement, K-9 operations and alcohol enforcement. In addition to being in a classroom, students will be able to use and use many items that enforcement personnel use every day.

“I wish I would have known about a program like this when I was in high school, I would have loved to participate and learn a lot about police work,” said Thomas Trombino, a student at Michigan State University.

Students will observe K-9 detection and apprehension, use “Fatal Vision” goggles to see the result of consuming alcohol, utilize non-lethal weapons and engage in scenario-based decision making on the Firearms Training Simulator.

“Working with the K-9 unit would probably be my favorite part of the program, I am a big fan of dogs, so I think it would be fun to see what they do,” said Trombino.

The purpose of this youth program is not to scare children away from drugs or violence; it is a purely educational program. It is intended to create positive relationships between officers and students and provide an increased knowledge of police work.

“We hope to educate young people about the role of the police in their community. Many students have an interest in law enforcement as a career and the program has helped them in making decisions about their future,” said Frenger.

For information about the program, contact Frenger at 517-853-4800 or frenger@meridian.mi.us, or visit www.meridian.mi.us.

“This program is extremely beneficial and helps kids and young adults get a feel for what we go through on a day to day basis. They get a chance to see how it all works, and it’s a good time,” said Hubbard.
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