According to the Sheriff’s Office, the program aims to establish a safe and healthy environment for teens and law enforcement officers.
Burlington County Sheriff Jean Stanfield has announced that there are openings still available for youth ages 12 to 17 in the “‘Police and Teens Together” program.
“The program saw a record number of participants last year and we are proud to once again offer this one of a kind experience to teens again this year,” Stanfield said. “When we first start the program kids are very reserved. By the end, they are hugging officers goodbye. It is amazing to see that transformation.”
According to Stanfield, one of the goals of this program is to continue to open up lines of communication between law enforcement and teenagers.
“This helps our officers understand the concerns and perceptions of teenagers particularly regarding stereotypes and experiences with law enforcement,” Stanfield said. “At the same time, this program helps teens build a new level of trust in law enforcement, which is essential for keeping our communities safe.”
The first class will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 21, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Human Services Building, located at 795 Woodlane Road in Westampton.
“During the first class, the officers and teens will openly discuss the teens’ views on law enforcement,” said Stanfield. “The teens will be able to critique videos and act out scenarios wearing uniforms.”
The second class will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 28, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Public Safety Building, located at 1 Academy Drive in Westampton.
“During the second class, teens will play the role of law enforcement using lifelike video technology Firearms Automated Training Simulator so they can experience the split-second decision-making using firearms,” Stanfield said. “This activity educates youth on why and how law enforcement officers use certain tactics.”
Stanfield described last year’s results as a “clear indicator” of the importance of establishing meaningful dialogue between teens and officers.
“Teens aren’t the only ones gaining valuable life-lessons from this program. Our officers have gained a new perspective from this interaction and look forward to working with the next group of students to build upon the relationships they’ve developed,” Stanfield said.
The Police and Teens Together program is a collaborative effort between the Burlington County Sheriff’s Department and Faith in Action! Inc.
To register or for more information, call the Burlington County Sheriff’s Department at (609) 265–5127 or Faith in Action! at (609) 835–7000.