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[February 2018] Upcoming police academy mentors youth interested in joining the force

Isabella Bullock ’19

Being a police officer might not be like CSI everyday, but it can still be interesting. Crime happens and police need to know how to protect citizens. A new program called the ‘Westport Citizens’ Youth Police Academy’ gives students who want to become police officers, or are interested in police work, a way to learn what happens in the police force.

The program welcomes anyone who wants to join. “Even if you were ‘anti-cop’ I think it would be a great opportunity to get in our heads and see why we do what we do,” Officer Ned Batlin, creator of the program, said.

Batlin explained that the reason for creating the academy was to connect Westport’s police system with the town’s young adults, as they have done in the past. “We thought with all the work the police department does with students of town-youth commission, police youth collaborative would just be another great extension for anybody curious about a career in law enforcement,” Batlin said.

A similar program was created for adults last year, which went so well that the creators of that program decided to make another one for students.

Art Kelly ’19 previously participated in a Westport police academy program, which impacted him greatly. “The program actually made me want to join the police force after doing the ride along,” Kelly said. “I’m hoping to be accepted to the University of New Haven for criminal justice and then will hopefully pursue a career in law-enforcement in Westport.”

Batlin stated that the police force is highly competitive and always has been. “I took a test with 350 other people for 10 jobs, but anytime they offer the test hundreds of people show up,” Batlin said. This program could help decrease the competition in the police force for the students who join the program because they will have already gained a sense of what law enforcement does.

The program will consist of five sessions every Tuesday from Feb. 27 to March 27 from 7  p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Students are eager to begin. “I have already signed up,” Desiree Powell ’19 said.

Like the previous program, there is a syllabus of the upcoming events where students can know what they are getting into. In the syllabus it states how students will meet with the officers, learn investigating techniques, learn about specialized units, learn the responsibilities of a police officer and much more. At the end of the program there is even a graduation ceremony.

“I think it’s a great idea for students to be apart of this program,” Alexis Tuccinardi ’19 said.


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