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The force is strong with these ones
Record number of kids attend Chiefs Academy at B&G Club
Chiefs Academy DSC 8056
The intensity of the moment can be seen in the face of Academy Cadet Justin Rother as Jonah Hensley and Bertha Cervantes cover his entry into a building searching for suspects. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

Manteca police officers were teaching the basics of “on the street” police tactics to some 25 seventh, eighth and ninth grade students in the first week of the Chief’s Academy at the Boy & Girls Club – the highest number of youth ever to attend.

Officer Jason Hensley said he was pleased with the cadets who went through the course keeping it drama free this year.  The Monday through Thursday classes include performing a high risk car stop with simulated guns drawn, SWAT entry into a residence, solo air soft targeting, and hostage team tactics along with drills and hearing a police chaplain explain the challenges of being a caring officer.

They were told the importance of performing not only random acts of kindness but also, and more importantly, intentional acts of kindness.

Hensley noted that veteran officer Steve Harris,  who passed away last week at his home,  had been scheduled to serve as the academy’s drill instructor for the class.  Harris was excited about working with the kids two weeks ago when he took on the assignment, Hensley said.

Four of the department’s Explorer Unit members had been in the program four to five years ago and now are Explorer sergeants, he added.  One was a lieutenant for the class and the other three served as youth sergeants, he said.

“We already have four kids out of this group applying to be Explorers,” Hensley said. Starting Monday the students will begin their second week of classes with graduation and awards presented at the end of the morning on Thursday.

It’s a nice thing we always have returnees to the class in the training series that takes them up to age 21 when they can apply to be a police officer, he said. 

The program is underwritten by three organizations working together including The Manteca Unified School District, The Manteca Police Department and the Boys & Girls Club.

A two-week CSI Academy begins on July 14 for third and fourth graders; July 21 for fifth and sixth graders.  The class sessions will run from 8 a.m. until noon and will again be taught by officers from the Manteca Police Department. 

Cost is $25 for non-members of the Boys & Girls Club and $15 for members.  The first 25 kids that turn in their paperwork to John Scharf by 5 p.m. Friday, June 20, can participate. 

The Junior CSI cadets will learn about law enforcement, crime scene processing, evidence collection and fingerprinting.  The importance of team work, respect, positive behavior, pride in one’s work and the resistance to drugs and alcohol will be emphasized. 

It is the hope of the program leaders that each cadet will leave the program with a better understanding of crime scene investigation techniques, citizenship and see firsthand the rewards of community involvement.