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Students get behind-the-scenes look at sheriff’s office

By Jenna Oden
Times-News

The Sheriff’s Academy for Youth summer day camp is finishing off its second and final week of camp for the summer.

Campers get first-hand experiences and a behind-the-scenes look of what it’s like at the Troup County Sheriff’s Office.

“This is a way for us to introduce kids to the duties and job responsibilities that we do,” said Sgt. Stewart Smith, who has worked the camp for almost a decade. “I get the fire department to come in and other agencies, and that way they can see what other agencies do. In the afternoons or mornings, we do a field trip.”

The camp has included field trips to Great Wolf Lodge, the Wild Animal Safari, to see a movie and to go skating.

“We show a mix of what law enforcement, public safety does, and also take the kids out for some added fun,” Smith said.

The first week of camp was for 9- and 10-year-old children, and the second week is for 11- and 12-year-olds. Smith said the camp is also an opportunity for young ages to see law enforcement in a different light.

“I think the kids that have never been through this before get a good respect of what we do as law enforcement officers,” Smith said. “They also see us as people, not just wearing the badge.”

Smith said the camp also allows young kids an opportunity to take part in new activities they may have never experienced. 

“It takes a week out of their summer to have some fun, get to meet some good friends and for us to have an impact on some of these kids in a positive light,” he said.

On Tuesday, Smith’s group visited the jail and saw the booking process and how inmates live.

“I try and show them every division that we have,” Smith said. “We’ve done our patrol division, our K-9 division, narcotics and investigations. The jail division is a huge division in our agency, and a lot of kids have never seen a jail… It is not a scared straight program or anything, but it gives them a chance to see what we do on a day-to-day basis.”

More than 20 preteens were able to walk the halls and ask questions about each part of the jail, and even experience what it is like to get booked.

“It takes a team of people to put this together,” Smith said. “This year has been one of our more successful years with a lot of great kids and adults.”