Scary but true: March will be here before we know it. And with it comes the opportunity to sign up for a model program that brings together first responders with future first responders.
This past summer, Round Rock Police Department delivered, yet again, with its popular Junior Police Academy program which runs throughout the summer. As always, March registration filled up quickly and, by quickly, we mean in less than an hour! Every summer for the past five years, RRPD has inspired and strengthened the City of Round Rock and its children with this program.
Every week, the police department hosts around 30 young cadets to participate in their fun-filled, yet intense, Junior Academy. Throughout the seven days, the kids are introduced to the world of law enforcement through demonstrations, talks and tactile experience.
And every day comes with new experiences. To start off a week this summer, cadets were given a tour of the police department and all the people that make the town’s law enforcement what it’s known for. During the tour they saw jail cells, the interior of police cars, got a full description of equipment used and the security needed at such a place. There was a timed obstacle course of long jumping, climbing over walls and racing. Plus there were push-ups and sit-ups throughout the week. On day one, kids might have gotten wrapped up in caution tape (wink, wink). Cadets and officers battled for a competitive dodgeball game, and then a detective class.
On day two of this four-day camp, cadets had the opportunity to rappel off a parking garage with the Round Rock Swat Team. (This was surely a highlight!) Afterwards, the group headed to Dell Diamond where they were given a tour of the field, dugouts, and even the locker room, all the while keeping security top of mind. After the tour, it was back to the RRPD for first aid and fire safety training. The cadets had fun bandaging their fellow friends and even the paramedics.
The police department also took the kids to the Bob Bullock Museum and the Texas Peace Officers’ Memorial which provided a humble moment for officers and cadets to pay their respects to those who served. And, no Texas camp is complete without a visit to a pool for some cool pool time.
Another exciting experience and fan favorite during the Junior Police Academy is the SWAT demo. The cadets are sitting in the conference room when SWAT officers come running into the room, alerting them. They hop in the SWAT van and head to an open field. Here, they experience smoke bombs and even rescue dummies, bringing them to safety. They also get to experience the fire department and meet firefighters. But, the best meet ‘n greet is definitely the K9 unit’s dog responders.
Round Rock Police Department’s Junior Police Academy began with the mindset of training children because they are the future. The impressive Chief Allen Banks brought the program to town and he and his crew have created a superb example for other police departments to follow. Kids are given the chance to learn more about becoming a first responder/ law enforcement officer while gaining a new appreciation for what their local heroes do on a daily basis. They come to realize these heroes are everyday people (who were kids once themselves) who made the decision to serve and protect.
In March 2019, RRPD will open up registration for next summer’s cadets (ages 8-14). The best part about this program? It’s free—-all costs are covered by corporate sponsors, not taxpayers! We’re incredibly impressed by this program and all who work hard to help these cadets have a summer camp they’ll never forget!
Marika Flatt, who is the Travel Editor of Texas Lifestyle Magazine, loves to globetrot but is never happier than when she returns home to Texas.