UNION COUNTY — More than 80 teens from across Union County recently graduated from the Union County Sheriff’s Youth Academy, a program designed to familiarize young people with the role of a police officer. Also, it operates similar to an actual police academy for teens interested in law enforcement.
“The Youth Academy aims to teach our kids about law enforcement and it is a great first step for those interested in the field,” Sheriff Ralph Froehlich said during the graduation ceremony. “And from what I heard from these fine young women and men, we succeeded in all of our goals in this program.”
Sheriff Froehlich also thanked the officers from the various law enforcement agencies that participated in the program including the New Jersey State Police, the FBI, the Union County Police Department and the Union County Corrections.
Participants in the Youth Academy received hands-on experience in a wide variety of emergency services and law enforcement functions and training. In addition, youths have the opportunity to learn respect for law enforcement through positive interaction during their time in the program.
“Showing them the human element of law enforcement helps our young people connect with officers in a way they never thought they could,” the Sheriff added.
The Sheriff’s Youth Academy is not a ‘boot camp’ for troubled youth. In order to enroll in the program, the youngsters must have a minimum GPA of 2.70 (B- average), letters of reference and write an essay explaining why the student would like to attend the Youth Academy.
During the first week of the program, the teens engaged in a physical training regime twice a day while attending lectures on subjects such as crime scene investigations, K-9 and motor vehicle stops. They also received visits from representatives from several branches of the military, New Jersey State Police and the Secret Service.
The second week of the Youth Academy involved class trips to the Union County SWAT Range, the Union County Jail and the State Police Museum in Trenton.
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