LaFayette Youth Police Academy graduates 34 students

Published 5:45 pm Friday, June 28, 2019

LaFAYETTE — The LaFayette Police Department Youth Police Academy graduated 34 students Friday afternoon at JP Powell Middle School.
The celebration Friday came after a week of attending sessions every day at 8 a.m. to learn more about the different parts of criminal justice. LaFayette Police Chief George Rampey said each class started with physical training in the morning and then followed with a snack.

Throughout the course of the week, students learned from the Chambers County Drug Task Force, LaFayette Fire Department and the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office K9 division. Each department had demonstrations for the students for a hands-on learning environment.

The students also toured a gun range and the Chambers County Jail.

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Rampey said the point of the academy is to make the police approachable in children’s eyes.

“We want to bring our youth in and see what we do on a daily basis,” he said. “Let them know we are not the enemy. We are here to work with them and make sure their rights are not violated. Also, we want them to appreciate the police better than what society tries to portray us.”

As for the graduation, Rampey said it’s important for the students to feel a sense of accomplishment for completing the program.

“When you do something positive, you will be rewarded,” he said. “I think it is a sense of pride that they get from this to take throughout life.”

He hopes this will motivate the students to keep doing positive things throughout life.

Academy graduates also had the chance to meet Auburn running back and LaFayette native JaTarvious Whitlow, who told the graduates to keep their head held high and keep working hard.

“I want to encourage all of you to never stop working,” he said.

Rampey said he’s been involved with the program since its inception in the early 2000s, and it’s one his favorite events.

“It gives me great joy to do this,” he said. “I look forward to it every year just to be able to interact with the kids and let them see this side of us.”

The students were broken up into four squads throughout the week. The top cadet for the week was Faith Barker.

Barker was also named a squad leader, along with Jayden Darden, Jada Robinson and Joy Robinson. LaFayette officer Quintessa Chambers said these are the students who above an beyond throughout the week doing anything that was asked of them.