“I was really excited to come to the academy”
The Gloucester Township Police Department’s Junior Police Academy gets great reviews from about 98 percent of the participants, according to the officers that run the program. Every year, there are a couple people who come back from the previous year. Corp. Michael Trabosh said “I think it’s going good, the kids really like it.”
The Junior Police Academy lasts for five days and accepts young adults between the ages of 10 and 16. During those five days, the GTPD Special Response Team comes out once to show the kids how to clear rooms and other basic tasks.
“We come out and do a demo one day for their academy,” said Patrolman Craig Walsh, a member of the GTPD special response team. “We show them the ropes … It’s really cool to be out there with the kids.”
The kids in attendance at the Junior Police Academy were smiling and looked to be having a great time.
“I was really excited to come to the academy … I want to do crime scenes like be a detective,” said Lauren St. Leger, 12. St. Leger said her favorite part of the week had been when they learned to fingerprint.
Alex Graffius, 11, had come in 2016 and enjoyed it so much she asked her parents to come back. She said she had enjoyed mostly all of the academy.
“I want to be on the Swat Team, that’s always been a dream of mine since I was little,” she said.
Jason Rauscher, 10, wanted to come so he could get healthier.
“I think it would be good to come here. I would eat healthy food and exercise … I like hanging out with everyone,” he said.
Rauscher was not the only Jason who enjoyed the physical exercise. Jason Savage, 13, said he has enjoyed every part even though his mother signed him up to get him “off the X-box.”
“There is a lot of running. If we mess up, you do a lot of push-ups, that’s the punishment here, but I don’t look at is as punishment, I look at is as exercise,” he said.
Alaina Gordon, 12, said she wanted to come to the Junior Police Academy “because being a police officer is really cool … that would be a great job to save lives everyday.”
Throughout the week, the juveniles are treated as cadets and given a uniform to wear every day. It consists of physical exercise, lectures, presentations, hands-on activities and a field trip. The purpose of the week is so that cadets learn the importance of being physically fit, staying drug free, teamwork and respect.