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Youth get taste of police action at pizza parlor
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Student police cadets clear a pizza parlor at (simulated) gun point under the direction of Manteca officer April Smith. Christopher Marlow, left, and Joshua Gonzalez were credited with being the best in the exercise. - photo by GLENN KAHL
Training for Manteca youths taking part in the Manteca Police Junior Police Academy saw them clear a building at (simulated) gun point Wednesday morning during their two-week-long classes.

The 14 boys and three girls entered a shuttered pizza parlor using basic police search tactics and were successful in locating and handcuffing their suspects while offering cover to their fellow cadets.

Christopher Marlow and Joshua Gonzalez made up the winning team among the seventh, eighth and ninth grade students mentored by Officer April Smith.

The 17 boys and girls aged 11 to 14 were exposed to SWAT tactics by Officer Paul Carmona followed by an explanation of the department’s traffic unit by past and present motorcycle officers Dale Walmer and Patrick Danipour. Carmona demonstrated the use of a department taser to debilitate a suspect and the detonation of a flash-bang grenade used to clear a building of suspects.

The “Life Lessons” segment was taught by Wendy Ryan and Pastor Joey Macias that showed cadets how to establish greater self-confidence and how best to talk with members of the public when they are faced with anger.  Officer Victor Vincent taught the physical education segment of the classes.

The cadets took part in a simulated high risk car stop that was presented by Officers April Smith and Eva Steele.  Officer Randy Chiek demonstrated the abilities of his police canine. Drill instructors were Paul Carmona and Ranch Johnson and Smith taught cadence. Sgt. Danny Erb is scheduled Friday with an orientation and demonstration of the bomb unit.  

At least two of the cadets are expected to join the ranks of the Manteca Police Explorers.  Two of the current Explorer force went through the academy last year.  Explorer members Mahlen Liotard and Clayton detailed their group’s activities, telling the cadets exactly what to expect in working with police officers and community service officers at special events.

Jeff Liotard, owner of Mt. Mike’s Pizza on North Main Street, provided the use of his building for the 10 a.m. learning exercise – prior to his opening for the lunch crowd.   Police chief David Bricker provided the pizza for the cadets through the Chief’s Foundation.

The cadets will go through a formal graduation ceremony Friday morning at 10 a.m. with families and friends invited.  A reception with cake and punch is on tap at the Boys and Girls Club ending the two-week program.