Weekly Feature

2018-02-14 / Editorial

Youth academy provides preparation for careers

Bee Editorial

In addition to the dozens of officers who patrol the streets of Amherst to make it a safe place for residents and visitors, there are many people who work behind the scenes at the Amherst Police Department headquarters. While there are detectives and officers of many ranks working at the department, the headquarters also contains the offices of emergency dispatchers and Amherst Fire Control.

When an unfortunate circumstance occurs or a tragedy strikes, all the units of the Police Department work together to help people in need. One such instance occurred on Feb. 6 during a 5-inch snowfall. According to dispatchers, a total of 263 calls were placed to the emergency lines. Dispatchers said 131 of those calls were made between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., and most of the reports were for vehicles that were either broken down or stuck in ditches.

Each year, the Police Department offers teenagers an inside look at the daily hazards and rewards of police officers with its Youth Police Academy. The academy is aimed at high school students who are considering a career in law enforcement.

At The Bee, we believe this program is a powerful resource for students. It teaches the students the amount of dedication necessary for such a career and will give teens insight into how members of the Police Department work together.

The program is open to high school students residing in or attending a school in Amherst or criminal justice students from the Erie 1 Board of Cooperative Educational Services. In the program, students will discover the minimum qualifications, training requirements and daily responsibilities of other county, state and federal law enforcement agencies through guest speakers and tours of their facilities. Students will view actual photographs and video of crime and accident scenes, and have the opportunity to take the actual physical fitness test required for police officers.

An eight-hour ride-along with a police officer also will be scheduled in addition to the classroom and court sessions. Parental consent is required for students to participate in the academy.

We urge potential students to view the three-week academy as preparation for their career, similar to it being an internship.

Applications and more information are available at www.amherst.ny.us.

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