Your Turn: An eye-opening experience at the East Brunswick Junior Police Academy

Junior Police Academy cadets check out East Brunswick Police Department patrol cars.

The East Brunswick Police Department’s virtual Junior Police Academy ended on June 17. This was a program created to provide a weeklong opportunity for kids, ages 13-17, to garner more insight on how the East Brunswick Police Department operates and how police officers serve and protect the community.

This program is typically in person but, because of the pandemic, it was moved online. However, there was some apprehension with it being online; it is very challenging for kids, in general, to focus in a virtual environment.

But in the end, the program was a success. The cadets were constantly asking questions and were actively participating. You could just see by their faces that they were greatly interested in what the officers had to say.

The commanding officers of the program, Reginald Wright and Bruce Diamond, and the other participating officers, left a lasting impression on the cadets. I, personally, learned about the Drug Recognition Expert program, a standardized systematic method of examination to determine whether a suspect is impaired and to determine the broad category of what caused it.

The cadets also learned how to pursue a career in law enforcement. Officer Diamond shed light on the well-respected United States Military Academy, also known as West Point.

Many loved the Community Response Unit’s scenarios, where you had to put yourself in the position of the officers and act accordingly with the information you had been given.

They also told the cadets some tactics they use when handling a potential DUI or DWI. For example, just by looking at the suspect’s eyes, you can gain some sort of clue on whether someone is under the influence.

The officers also introduced myriad equations they use when investigating a crash, which helps find variables such as speed and velocity.

For those interested in attending the youth police academy program next year, the location of the program will vary. If the pandemic subsides and more people get vaccinated, it may be in person. Whether the program is online or in person, it will continue to educate its members about the different aspects of law enforcement and provide a valuable experience, creating a link between the police department and the youth of East Brunswick.

Shaheer Saud is a rising senior at East Brunswick High School. He participated in this summer’s Junior Police Academy through the East Brunswick Police Department.

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