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Metro Phoenix teens get inside look at police work

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — The next potential generation of public safety officers received a look into what it is like to work in law enforcement.

The group of about 40 teens, ages 14-18, gathered at Desert Edge High School in Goodyear on Tuesday, for day two of the annual Goodyear Police Teen Academy.

“It’s about the team, not the individual,” said school resource Officer Gene Hindman to the teens about working as a police officer.

Throughout the course, which began Monday, students received information about the role of law enforcement, and the tools and tactics used by police.

Each day of the program focuses on a different aspect of police work.

“We’ve gone through some narcotics training, we did something on gangs, we had our detective come in and talk investigations because some of the people said they wanted to be investigators, they want to be homicide investigators and that type of thing,” Hindman said.

Other areas of study included working on mock crime scenes and drug awareness.

Students will even have a day at the firing range for firearms safety and training.

“We’re going to spend a couple of hours at the range so they get a chance to shoot the firearms that we handle on a daily basis,” Hindman said.

Those weapons will include handguns, shotguns and rifles.

On Tuesday, the teens got an inside look at the workings of a SWAT team, as well as hands-on experience with some Goodyear Police Department’s tactical equipment, e.g., trying on helmets and armor.

The group listened to officers who told stories of working on cases, and watched videos of police work.

Hindman said the purpose of the academy is to give an opportunity for kids who are interested in law enforcement to get involved and get an inside look at what it’s like to be a police officer, but also to give the community opportunities to be involved with its police department.

The process to attend the teen academy is similar to what it is like trying to become an officer, Hindman said.

“The type of thing they would do as a police officer, just to fill out an application and get some information,” Hindman said. “We review those applications, and if they met the criteria they were allowed to attend the program.”

The application and selection process accompanied a $50 fee if a teen was selected to attend the course.

The program wraps up Thursday.