Frederick police educate and inspire youth to consider careers in law enforcement

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FREDERICK, Md. — Frederick police may have a new chief, but they still have the same goal of developing trust and transparency, and they’re sharing that message with kids in the community.

More than 200 students participated in the thirteenth annual youth police academy.

“There are so many negative things people hear about the police, and this is really our chance to shine and show them the positive aspects of being a police officer and show them what our men and women do everyday,” said Sgt. Greg Stocksdale with the Frederick police department.

Throughout the day, students got a close-up look at police equipment, processed a crime scene, and learned about the special response team, but the most popular event every year is the K-9 demonstration.

“I’m very excited. I like the dogs and stuff and that’s kind of my plan if I were to be a police officer, to be in the K-9 unit,” said Destiny Wastler, a student of the academy.

Program coordinators also wanted to expose kids to different career opportunities within the force.

“There are a lot of great things out there career wise, not only being a police officer, but doing crime scenes, outreach, or becoming a communications dispatcher. There are a lot of different opportunities in law enforcement,” said Michele Bowman, community outreach coordinator with the Frederick police department.

For the first time, the academy was open to students ages 13 and older. Officers hope the program will help them think twice before making a decision that could hurt them in the future.

“Some of the youth in this class will be driving soon, and they’ll get to see what the reality is – the consequence of texting and driving and how some of the decisions you make will impact your future,” Bowman said.

More than 2,000 kids have gone through the program. And there’s a similar program for adults; the department will be holding a nine-week citizen police academy. The free program is designed to give Frederick County residents an overview of the many functions of the department.

For more information on how to enroll, click here.

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