After two successful programs for adults, the White Plains Public Safety Citizen’s Academy held its first 9-week course for high schoolers, which culminated with a graduation ceremony on Nov. 27.
“This was the most fun I’ve had at work in quite a while,” said Lt. Kevin Christopher, who runs the program, which give residents a first-hand, hands-on look into the workings of the city’s police and fire departments. “The kids were engaging, energetic, attentive and still somewhat innocent. It made me very optimistic about the younger generation.”
During the course, the 26 students in grades 9 through 12 from White Plains and Arbishop Stepinac high schools, learned about the history of law enforcement and the law, got a run down on each of the police units and fire units and the ambulance service. They toured the firing range, got a chance to try out various equipment and each had an opportunity to ride along with a patrol officer. The various classes were all taught by city cops and firefighters.
Public Safety Commissioner David Chong said holding and academy for young people was a way to build trust.
“There can be a disconnect between how young people perceive the police and how police perceive young people,” he said. “This helps bridge that gap. I think it was beneficial to both groups and we look forward to doing it again.”