CHASING THE BAD GUYS
Four-day Youth Recruit Academy has students considering careers in uniform
Forty high school students run a fitness drill Thursday as they experience what it’s like to be a police officer. The drill was part of the fifth annual Edmonton Police Service Youth Recruit Academy at M.E. LaZerte High School.
Rather than heading out of town with their family and friends, 40 high school students from across Edmonton spent their spring break learning what it takes to become a police officer.
In it’s fifth year the Edmonton Police Services’ Spring Break Youth Recruit Academy graduated students, with a ceremony involving all the proper pomp and pageantry of a police graduation at M.E. LaZerte High School in Edmonton’s north end on Thursday.
Throughout the week, students had a chance to meet with specialized police forces and learn about the tactics and equipment used in different situations. EPS spokesman Chad Orydzuk said the recruits learn about leadership, team building and problem solving throughout the week.
“During the four days we did physical training, we watched presentations, we went to police headquarters, volunteered at the boys and girls club,” said Lauren Askin, who was awarded for her leadership throughout the week. “It was absolutely amazing, honestly. I’m going to miss it a lot.”
Askin, a Grade 11 student, said she is now considering police work as a career after high school.
“Honestly, before the course I was kind of iffy about it, but after taking it, it lit that fire and I was like, ‘I really wanna do this.’”
Askin’s mother, Randi, saw that fire light in her daughter halfway through the week, as she came home excited about what she had learned each day.
“She set her alarm every day and got up at 5 a.m.” said the elder Askin. “It’s not like that on a school day.”
Askin said she is now looking at joining the cadets while she considers all of her career options.
Police chief Dale McFee was at the graduation to inspect the recruits and hand out awards. He said it is great if students consider a career with EPS, but that the program is more about educating and engaging students.
“Ultimately, if one or two of them or a handful of them join EPS, that’s a bonus but just the leadership skills they learn as they become community leaders, it’s a win-win for us,” said McFee.
School Resource Officers (SRO) each year promote the program at high schools across the city. Any students interested in joining next year’s program can contact their school’s SRO.