CLARKSVILLE, IN (April 30, 2022) – More than 100 children graduated from the Clarksville Junior Police Academy over the weekend in Clarksville’s Gateway Park. The popular program had to be put on hold the last couple of years due to COVID, but it was back in action on Saturday.
“With COVID over with, we are now ready to re-start our Junior Police Academy,” said Clarksville Police Chief Mark Palmer. “Its going to be a beautiful day out here, and the Police Academy like always is packed to capacity.”
The Clarksville Police Department teams us with the Parks Department each year for the Junior Police Academy event. More than 100 participants between the ages of 5-10 are invited to learn about our local police department, some of the skills they learn, and the kinds of equipment they work with each day. Participants were treated to a K9 demonstration, drone flights, an inflatable obstacle course, and much more. Chief Mark Palmer says events like this are critical for creating trust with the public.
“The interaction we have not with just the kids, but with the parents they come out here and get to see there kids laugh and smile and they get to see the interaction with the police officers, they get to ask there own questions,” said Palmer. “So, even though it starts out with the children, the parents get involved, families get involved, and its just a full round event for everybody.”
One noticeable change this year is the addition of a new partnership with the Prosser Career Education Center. Students from the center’s Criminal Justice program were invited to volunteer at the event, and serve as group leaders for the groups of children. It was a chance for the students to give back and learn at the same time.
“Getting to work here with the officers today, I feel like will give me the ability to have some people that I know in the field, see what they think of the field,” said Prosser Student Katie Wise. “I really like hanging out with the kids and stuff, so I’m definitely excited to get to help kids and kind of learn about the career field that I’ve been learning about.”
As for the participants in the program, they had very different views on possibly choosing a career in law enforcement.
“Whenever I’m in the backseat of someone’s car, I always see police on the side of the road with people pulled over, and it looks pretty fun to do that,” said Academy Recruit Jackson Maldonado.
“It seems like a really cool job to have, so I just wanted to like come here and see what it felt like,” said Academy Recruit Brielle McCartin. “I actually really want to be a vet, but this is my second choice.”