Local law enforcement announce upcoming Junior Police Academy’s

Published 8:30 am Friday, June 2, 2023

Local police departments are inviting students to their annual junior police academies this summer to learn about law enforcement.

Lanett Police Department is holding its annual Youth Police Academy program on June 20- June 23 whereas Valley Police Department’s Junior Police Academy will be July 10- July 14 this year. 

Each program’s aim is to help children understand the services that each department provides. Through the academies, kids can get firsthand experience of what law enforcement looks like. 

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“A lot of times, when kids see law enforcement, they’re scared,” said LPD School Resource Officer Lt. Brittani Reaves. “We don’t want kids to be scared of us. We don’t want adults to be scared of us.”

Throughout the Lanett Youth Police Academy, children tour many city departments, including the fire station, police department, jail and investigations. Students learn how the departments have grown and how they handle emergencies. 

“They have to know that we’re here to help to give them an understanding of things that are going on outside in the [real] world, and try to keep them up to date on how it’s changing,” Reaves said. “We do give them classes on drugs, alcohol, oversharing and internet safety.”

Reaves said Lanett Youth Police Academy shows the students how they handle land, air and water emergencies. Last year, Richard Carter brought Chambers County’s chopper for the children to see. 

The programs have continued to grow each year with new departments and exhibits. This year, the Youth Police Academy will include a tour of the newly opened Lanett Airport. 

“One of our goals is to make sure that the kids have fun and make sure they have a lot of activities to do,” Reaves said. 

Reaves, from Chambers County, has been running the Youth Police Academy for the past 12 years. She said it has left a positive impact on the youth in her community. Over the years, she said the information has stuck with some of her earliest academy groups. 

“To see them grow up and use this in everyday life, it’s really rewarding to see that they will listen. Everybody may not listen, but it only takes that one,” Reaves said. “As long as you can always reach one to do the right thing and be the best human they can be, you succeed.”

The program is open to children ages 7 to 12. According to Reaves, participants have come from all around Chambers County, West Point and Roanoke. Usually around 75 to 100 children participate. 

Applications must be returned to the LPD. However, there are only 15 spots this year, and Reaves said those spots may already be filled. 

“We have a lot of kids that come back year after year,” she said. 

Valley’s Junior Police Academy will be run by Crim, Corporal Steven Doyle, Officer Lisa Farley and Deputy Brian Yates. 

Crim said the popular obstacle course from last year, which featured a new balance beam, will be brought back. Valley’s police department, fire department, life flight, dive team, 4-H leaders, archery and K-9 unit will participate throughout the week. 

“It would not be such a success if we didn’t have the city backing us,” Crim said.

Valley’s junior academy is also sponsored by many businesses in the community.

Crim founded the Valley Junior Police Academy 12 years ago to give children in the area a safe and fun event during the summer. Over the years, many participants have come back to mentor the next generation and volunteer for the program. 

“After they’re of age and feel like they’re too old to participate directly in the program, they come back and want to give their time,” Crim said. 

Crim said she’s watched many children go on to graduate high school or college and exemplify the leadership qualities and positive behavior the program encourages.

Crim said kids come from around the county as well as Lee County and Troup County. Applications are available at Valley City Hall.