Isabella Co. Trains Middle School Students In Law Enforcement
It’s been twenty years since the start of Mt. Pleasant Youth Police Academy. It’s a place where Isabella County Middle Schoolers learn what it takes to be a police officer.
“We really emphasize this is a leadership academy, the morning starts with the Pledge of Allegiance and we go over a word of the day,” said Justin Nau, Mt. Pleasant Police Officer. “Today’s word was discipline, and throughout each day, we’ll cover something different. We talk about why it’s important and why it’s important to police work.”
The academy is taught by cadet instructor’s – students who have graduated from the police academy and come back to help with the program.
About half of the students are interested in becoming police officers, others take part to learn about the work officers do, including 11-year-old Ali Abdelggawad.
“I’ve always found police work very interesting,” said Abdelggawad. “It’s really cool.. things we get to do, we’re going to get hands on experience with all these, like, real police officers.”
13-year-old Helen Montross says she joined the program to show her support for the police.
“I want to show support for the police,” said Monrtoss. “Especially now that I’m getting older and I have a chance to, you know, talk about it and have more experience.”
The students learn different tools and techniques used by police, including K9 training, and leadership skills.
Students get to work with K9s like Cigan. Cigan works with K9 Officer Brad Holp from the Saginaw Police Department.
“Cigan is a pure-black German Shepherd from the Netherlands. He just turned 8-years-old,” said Holp. “We import all of our dogs from overseas.”
The academy is giving insight and first-hand experience to those who may soon wear a police badge.
“It’s just great because these relationships that we build with the students now, carry on for years to come as we stay in the community and as they go through the school system.”