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Academy puts cadets through real scenarios
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Ripon School Resource Officer Trevor McGinnis watches as Junior Police Academy member Kylie Smith attempts to make a basket while wearing goggles that simulate being under the influence of alcohol twice the legal limit. - photo by GLENN KAHL

RIPON – This week’s advanced Junior Police Academy has put some 20 students through a series of scenarios that will end today with emphasis on cardio pulmonary resuscitation at the Ripon Fire Department.

On Thursday, students experienced the effects of drinking related to their balance and depth perception. Officer Trevor McGinnis took them across the street from the police department to the Harvest Park basketball courts, where cadets donned DUI goggles and attempted to dribble a basketball through a set of orange cones. 

Once they completed the obstacle course, cadets were asked to shoot the ball – a formidable task with a blood alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit.

Trina Pangelina, 11, said she learned well the dangers of drinking and driving.  A two-time academy student, Pangelina hopes to follow her mother – an employee of the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office – into law enforcement some day.

“I think it would be cool to help people out,” she said.

Weston School eighth grader Kylie Smith, 13, remembers the Wednesday session this week when the students were taught how to make a traffic stop as an officer without putting themselves in danger.

“Traffic stops can be very dangerous,” Smith said.  “You never walk between cars because the motorist can back up and injure you.”

The teen added that you always put your hand print on the trunk of the car to mark it for further use.  Also it is important to drag your hand along the car as you are walking toward the driver’s door to feel any movement in the vehicle.

“Every three steps you need to look over your shoulder to check your back,” she added.  “This is my second time doing the advance course after going through the basic academy several years ago.”