(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) On Thursday afternoon, 24 participants in the St. Joseph Junior Police Academy saw what it takes to be an officer.
The academy is free and open to 12,13 and 14-year-olds.
Officer Devin Kallauner who coordinates the academy said it’s a chance for kids to explore a career in law enforcement.
“The younger kids maybe when they get older this is an experience they will remember and they’ll tell their friends, their parents whoever and maybe they will apply,” Kallauner said
The aim is to develop a real-life perception of police, what they do and who they are personally and professionally.
"The importance of the academy though is to let them see what we come into every day, the equipment we get to use, you know the building, the facilities,” he said.
The program includes processing and collecting evidence, a K9 demonstration, a traffic division activity, and several guest speakers from the police department.
Mike Werner is a soon-to-be 7th grader at St. Francis Xavier. While he is just 12-years-old, he already knows what he’s going to be when he grows up; a K9 officer.
“I love to make the world a better place, like no littering, no nothing like that and I like to bring the peace to everyone,” Werner said.
In addition to a tool for recruitment, the academy also helps the police with community outreach. Kallauner said the bonds he makes with the kids during the camp help him as a School Resource Officer in the St. Joseph School District.
“I’m going to see a few at Central, Bode, and Truman and so will all the other SROs, Kallauner said. “That was the good thing about last year. They would come up to us at school and actually hold a conversation because they weren’t scared of us.”
The graduation ceremony will be held on Friday at 11 a.m. for the students that complete the program.