A new generation of law enforcement officials are undergoing training in Helena. Our Bliss Zechman explains how high schoolers from around the treasure state are learning exactly what it takes to be a cop at the Junior Police Leadership Academy.
Youngsters here are learning a wide variety of police basics. Like how to make an arrest and how to shoot a gun. Waking up bright and early, just like their real life counterparts, to hone in their skills.
“They get up at 5:45 every morning and start with an hour and a half of pt,” said Randy Robinson, a coordinator for the Junior Police Leadership Academy.
Although, this session is about more than just learning to run and shoot. In fact, the objective of the academy might surprise you.
"We're not trying to make them into cops, we're trying to make them into just leaders," said Robinson.
He says the goal is to instill a sense of direction that could lead kids to becoming public servants.
Adding that the skills they learn can be applied to a variety of professions like forensics and law.
However some, are here to step into combat roles.
“Some of the different driving skills and defensive tactics I can use that,” said Wyatt Fredson, a 16-year-old participant from Ennis High School.
Fredson plans to enlist in the marines once he graduates. He's looking forward to learn how to properly take down assailants. Despite his drive, he's having fun along the way.
"Even though it was just the first day yesterday just getting to meet all of the people. It’s been really well I’m liking it," said Fredson.
Throughout the week, the 38 participants will be mentored by a variety of specialists. This morning, they learned about mental health and later they'll get to interact with folks from the U.S. border patrol.
"The officers that are involved are here because they love doing this and we really believe in our youth and we want to make sure that we give them every opportunity to succeed," said Robinson.
The coordinator says the best part is that kids don't pay a dime for this program. It's fueled by donations and caring volunteers.