They learned police tactics, toured Baltimore Shock Trauma and participated in early morning calisthenics. For one week, 48 students experienced with a police academy is like by participating in the 9th annual Junior Police Academy (JPA).
The Academy, hosted by the Charles, Calvert and St. Mary's County Sheriff's offices, the Maryland State Police (MSP) and the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions (MPCTC), was held June 18-23 at the MPCTC Public Safety Training and Education Center in Sykesville, Md.
The JPA cadets are high school students from Charles, Calvert and St. Mary's counties who have applied to or are currently enrolled in the criminal justice program offered by each county's respective public school system. The cadets start each day at 5 a.m. with calisthenics, breakfast and room inspections. This is followed by a full day of law enforcement-related lectures and exercises for handcuffing and searching, officer safety, police ethics, traffic stops, searches and team building skills. JPA cadets saw demonstrations from the Charles County Sheriff's Office K9 Unit, Carroll County's Critical Response Team and a Maryland State Police helicopter, just to name a few. They also participated in field trips to the Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, the Maryland State Penitentiary in Baltimore and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, where they received a behind the scenes tour. The cadets were also treated to a Bowie Baysox baseball game. As the week progressed the cadets selected their class motto, "Pain is temporary, pride is forever!"
During a graduation ceremony June 23, special awards were presented to one male and female cadet for each award category. The physical fitness award for the cadets who excelled and displayed endurance in that area was presented to Thomas Duck and Gabbriel Brice, both of Charles County. Nigel Whigan of St. Mary's County and Brianna Post of Calvert County were presented the leadership award for displaying leadership qualities among their peers. The perseverance award went to Daniel Dudley of Charles County and Vannessa Watkins of St. Mary's County for epitomizing the class motto. The esprit de corps award was presented to St. Clair Brownlee and Ashley Wolfe, both of Calvert County, for personifying team spirit and promoting unity among their peers. The police skills award, given to the cadet who displayed the skills and abilities to fulfill the duties to be a law enforcement officer, was presented to Donovan Parker, Jr. and Courtney Witt, both of Charles County. Scott Caudill of Calvert County and Catherine Poole of Charles County earned the most improve d award which is given to the cadets who were able to overcome challenges with a very positive attitude.
This year's keynote speaker for the graduation ceremony was Capt. R. Scott Yinger, Commander of the Maryland State Police Academy.
The Academy would not be possible without all the dedicated people who provide resources and assistance. The following are the staff and instructors who participated: From the Charles County Sheriff's Office: Capt. Joseph Montminy, Sgt. Tony Verdiglione, Cpl. Renee Cuyler, Cpl. David Garino, Cpl. Rhett Calloway, PFC Kris Syvertsen, PFC Elizabeth Starcher and PFC Kim Selkirk. From the Maryland State Police: Sgt. Larry Titus. From the Calvert County Sheriff's Office: DFC Rob Selkirk and DFC Kathryn Luppino. From the St. Mary's Sheriff's Office: SDFC D.T. Ross, DFC Chad Hartzell and DFC Daniel Repel. Six counselors were on hand also and consisted of staff from the three county school systems: From Charles County: Patricia Johnson and James Campbell. From Calver t County: Erica Weems and Dustin Devilbliss. From St. Mary's County: Lori Windsor and Thomas Barnes. The majority of the funding to support the Junior Police Academy is provided by the three county Sheriff's Offices and the three county Boards of Education.
This year's graduates included:
Calvert County: Dexter Alleyne, St. Clair Brownlee, Scott Caudill, Michael Deugwillo, Shayne Douglass, Thomas Duck, Collin Felix, Brianna Post, Roger Smith and Ashley Wolfe.
Charles County: Andrea Duckett, Samantha Albright, Anthony Bennett, Arielle Blake, Jason Booker, Gabbriel Brice, Robert Cranford, Tiesha Dean, Daniel Dudley, Victor Kavaky, Darius Key, Tierra Lanier, April Lewis, Alexander Matthews, Shannon O'Hara, Donovan Parker, Jr., Catherine Poole, Courtney Witt and Kateria Yates.
St. Mary's County: Asia Blake, Eric Christianson, Scott Fleming, Tyreka Mason, Amanda Pratschner, John Stokes, Vanessa Watkins and Nigel Whigan.