On Tuesday, the students will begin their learning process at the Youth Academy located just on the outskirts of Tallahassee. They will meet for the next seven Tuesdays and began their hands-on experience with TPD’s Tactical Apprehension and Control (TAC) team and the K-9 unit.
The program will advance the student’s knowledge on the different strategies and procedures used by local law enforcement officer. Students will also gain a deeper understanding on the procedures when dealing with criminal investigations, patrol operations, traffic enforcement, crime lab, evidence gathering and the use of force.
According to a Department of Justice report issued on December of 2014, a total of 1.3 million juvenile were arrested in the year of 2012. Officer Shawn Wyman an advocate for developing positive relationships with the youth and the community created the YCPA program.
He said that the idea came to him two-years ago and after he proposed it the idea was shot down. Wyman said after Chief Michael DeLeo arrived he saw the opportunity to propose the idea again.
“We had the conversation and he started asking me questions like what do we do to introduce the kids to us.”
The Department of Justice’s Juvenile Offenders and Victim reports shows crimes involving teens have declined over the years and Wyman said it is something he wants to contribute to.
“I wanted to create a program that was more realistic and aiming toward middle school kids and teens,” Wyman said. “This program is one way we can introduce ourselves to the kids of the community. And through this program the students will get to see all the good things we officers do for the community,”
Sergeant Scott Beck, the coordinator for YCPA, said “This is one of many programs offered by TPD but the first program that offers an introductory experience for the youth.”
Other programs offered by TPD are the Citizens Police Academy (CPA) which is aimed more toward adults, and the Tax Student program.
“The Tax Student program is more detailed and is a longer program that typically runs over the summer but it is a little more advanced. It’s been going on for about six years now,” said Beck
Though the YCPA program has only been around for two-years, Wyman said he hopes that the students participating in the program will soon reap the benefits of the experience.
Fourth-year, criminal justice student, Jasmine Lattibeaudiere from Miami said, “I can see how the program would be impactful and excel. For me personally having the experience of the ride-along, as a college student, really inspires me. So I could only imagine the inspirations that the YCPA program would give to a 13-year-old.”
Students that did not receive the opportunity to apply for the summer classes will have the chance to apply for the Fall or Spring classes. Student applicants must have a minimum 2.0 G.P.A or higher, must be a Leon County resident or within the surrounding areas and must be able to attend all class sessions. In addition to those requirements they must meet criminal background checks and school discipline check criteria.
For more information on YCPA and the other programs offered by TPD, visit Talgov.com/tpd.