Bigger classrooms, realistic-looking storefront facades, and great lunches – that’s what stood out for youngsters attending the first day of the Chief’s Foundation Junior Police Academy Monday at the be.tech campus located in the Manteca Unified School District complex.
MUSD’s Nutrition Services, in partnership with local police, provided lunch to the nearly dozen seventh- through ninth- grade students.
“This was the first day so we covered many of the basics,” said Officer Shawn Cavin of the Manteca Police Department.
Students, for example, learned a little of their ABCs – in this case, Alpha, Beta and Charlie – of the phonetic alphabets.
“We now know why (dispatch) uses it when communicating,” said Aiden Rubio, who is a seventh-grade student at Woodward Elementary School.
He’s looking forward to later in the week where police will give demonstrations on their K-9 Unit along with SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics), high-risk traffic stops, and patrol procedures, to name a few.
Cavin, who is also working with Officer Jason Downs at this year’s Junior Police Academy, touched briefly on traffic stops in the classroom and displayed some of the gear, including the bullet-proof vest used daily by police.
This Chief’s Foundation event has been a summer fixture in Manteca since 2008. During that span, several youngsters have used the Junior Police Academy as a spring board to the Law Enforcement Explorer program for those ages 14 through 20, including Josh Lewis and Nathan Krebbs.
“We’ve had a few that have gone on to the military,” said Downs.
He and Cavin are hoping that youngsters at this academy will follow the lead of perhaps becoming an Explorer.
“My dad wanted me to be in (the Junior Police Academy) – he said it’ll be a good experience,” noted Andrew Downs, who attends Cesar Chavez Junior High School in Ceres.
This is the first year of the Junior Police Academy at its new home at the be.tech.
The streetscape there is equipped with street lamps, faux store fronts and turned over school bus, making it a more interesting setting compared to that of its former home at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Manteca.
Besides the Explorers, Cavin pointed out that the be.tech’s First Responders Academy and the ROP Careers in Law Enforcement are other opportunities available to these youngsters in the future.
The Junior CSI program was also held at be.tech campus. Police were able to double the size of participants this year given the bigger classroom space.