Youth police academy students Grayson Engel, Justin Sour, and Cole Sansing are headed to U.S. Marine Corps boot camp this summer. Photo by Freda Miklin
It has long been recognized by the City of Greenwood Village that one of the keys to a strong, safe community is maintaining a healthy relationship between its public safety professionals and its citizens. GV sponsors regular free programs to encourage its citizens to get to know its police officers in a non-stressful setting.
One of those programs is the youth police academy, a one-week summer program that grew out of the citizens’ police academy for adults. On June 3, 30 teenagers, split evenly between boys and girls, met at GV’s city hall to begin a weeklong program.
GVPD Patrol Operations Commander Joe Bradley introduced the program. Participants were given inside access to the entire GV police department, where they saw holding cells, high-tech police equipment and a real, working 911 center. Later that week, they traveled to the Arapahoe County Courthouse and even the Arapahoe County Jail. The teens learned about how police officers conduct traffic stops, maintain control during arrests and how crime scenes are investigated. Students also were introduced to K-9’s (police dogs), learned about how police officers are taught to drive in a pursuit, and even how they handle a bomb threat.
On their first day, the teens were told that when a person is arrested, police technicians not only photograph their faces, they also photograph any tattoos the person has on his or her body to assist with identification. They learned that most police records are considered public information, except for those involving juveniles–unless they are prosecuted as adults–and sexual assaults. They learned that the GV 911 center has access to live video from cameras in light rail stations, parking lots of large retail centers and hotels around the city to help officers detect and investigate crimes.
Grayson Engel, Justin Sour, and Cole Sansing were enthusiastic participants in the youth police academy program. All three just graduated from Cherry Creek High School and are headed to Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego this summer for three months of boot camp, followed by a four-year commitment to military service. Asked what led to their decision to enlist, all three said that they are eager for the challenge and they view the military as an opportunity to be a part of a brotherhood and a tight-knit community. To Sansing, being a Marine means “being the best version of yourself.” Asked if our country’s current involvement in active wars led them to hesitate to enlist, all three young men answered definitively, “No.”. Asked if college was in their future plans, Engel, Sour and Cole all said that they planned to stay in the military as a career. College might be a consideration later in life, but none of the three saw it in their plans now.
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