Junior Police Academy Helps Rocklin Police Connect with Community
A fist pump and an exclamation of “yes!” was how one morning classroom session of the Rocklin Junior Police Academy (JPA) ended in late July.
After attentively listening to the Rocklin Police protocols on conducting regular and high risk traffic stops in a board room, the group was excited to conduct mock stops using stationary police and city vehicles in the parking lot.
In each scenario, cadets learned how to communicate by radio with police dispatchers, how to cooperate with other officers, and how to interact with the public; all in the optimal way to keep everyone safe. Whether it was providing a warning for expired registration, or ordering “dangerous criminals” to step out of the car with their hands up, the cadets had a blast.
“This has been a fun program and I’ve learned a lot,” said Josh, a Rocklin Academy Gateway student and son of a Rocklin Police Officer. “After going through something like this, I know more about what it takes to be a police officer and what my dad actually does every day.”
The Rocklin JPA academy consists of a week-long program of half-day lessons and activities designed to provide local students a better understanding of the different aspects involved in police work. Students see the K9 and SWAT programs up close, conduct crime scene investigations, learn the history of law enforcement, and much more.
The program was started in 2016 by Sgt. Chris Osborne, who has experience as a school resource officer and sees the JPA as a great way to create meaningful relationships with local youth.
“Working with young men and women allows us to build a partnership on mutual trust, respect and fun,” Osborne said. “Students see that officers are people just like them and after the program they share their positive experiences with their parents, friends and communities.”
Osborne, other officers and dispatchers taught two separate weeks of classes this year to a total of 26 students. For Dispatcher Ashley Burgers, it was especially rewarding to see 15 students return from 2016 to take an advanced version of the program.
“It feels good to see many of the students return just as excited, remembering the training and officers by name,” Burgers said. “It was great to see they took the program seriously and that they valued the time.”
The Rocklin JPA is a partnership between the Rocklin Police Department and the Rocklin Police Activities League. The activities league is a non-profit organization whose mission is to build trust and lifelong relationships between local youth and the Rocklin Police Department. For more information on the activities league, visit www.rocklinpal.org.