WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL)—According to Wichita Falls Police officials, 20 kids will graduate from the Wichita Falls Police Department Junior Police Academy Friday after hands-on learning from the city’s finest all week.
“Every kid wants to be a cop, but you really don’t know what they do until you come here,” Junior Police Academy student Gavin Thompson said.
Not everyone gets to see behind the scenes of police work, but through the WFPD Junior Police Academy, 20 kids got to learn the ins and outs.
“Just kind of a wide variety of things involving the police department and kind of how we operate and why we do things,” WFPD Crime Free Coordinator Brian Masterson said.
A variety of things including building searches, scuba diving, criminal investigation and watching K9 Turko do a narcotics search.
“Got to dive with the oxygen tanks and all the equipment and stuff,” Junior Police Academy student Emily Spurgers said.
“Traffic stops, we’ve done building search and clear, we just get a good idea of what it’s like to be on law enforcement and you know multiple different branches of law enforcement,” Thompson said.
Attending the academy solidified Thompson’s desire to one day serve his community in uniform.
“I always had the thought of being a cop but was really never like ‘yes’ something I want to do but until now, yes I do,” Thompson said.
Though Spurgers isn’t looking to be an officer, she said this week was for expanding her knowledge.
“I just thought it would be an interesting experience, I mean I haven’t personally wanted to be like a police officer but I do think it’d be an interesting job,” Spurgers said.
Not only does it help kids gain information on the job, but it also helps build relationships between the police department and the youth.
“Unfortunately, if you will, most of the times when officers are dealing with folks maybe they got stopped for a traffic violation or something, it tends to be more on that negative context where here it’s more of a positive interaction,” Masterson said.
Not all attendees want to be a police officer when they grow up, but these 20 participants learned a lot to help make that decision, and they had a great time too.
The academy is free for 12-14 year-olds and Friday is graduation day.
To see more of what the group’s been up to this week, click here.