Students, mentors join forces for field trip
A field trip to the Polk County EMA building was the Take Back Polk mentoring program’s latest way of rewarding the good behavior and academic progress of several local middle school students who managed to meet the goals set for them by their mentors.
In the program, at-risk youth are taught lessons on everything from life to leadership, so the field trips also naturally take an educational approach. A tour through the Polk County Emergency Management Agency’s building offered insight into how the county operates, and both career information and tips for getting into local industries were shared by various officials present.
“Becoming a basic EMT is a good entry point into the medical field,” Redmond Regional Medical Center EMS Director Marty Robinson said while explaining the various roles first responders and medical officials take on a day to day basis.
Youth were also invited to walk through the ambulance and see for themselves the tools and equipment EMT use to save lives on the go.
The county commission meeting room was packed as students flooded in to see where local ordinances and other regulations were passed, and a visit to the building’s detective division likely sparked career interest for students who were shown evidence lockers, interview rooms, and much more.
More tech-savvy youth may have liked the visit to the 911 operating center where massive monitors displayed where and when people needed help.
“I hope that some of them want to actually have a career doing some of this,” Sheriff Johnny Moats said. “It’s really hard to get people to do want to do this- especially police jobs. Hopefully a few have the desire to do it.”
A close up visit to the jail was designed to highlight what life behind bars is like. Students were walked through long hallways of cells and given the chance to use the visitation room where those sentenced are able to speak with loved ones only on occasion.
“Well, with our trip to the jail, I just wanted them to see what it’s like to be locked up,” Moats said. “We took them to the visitation and explained about being able to visit their family only one day a week for 15 to 20 minutes only.”
Moats also offered advice for getting into the police industry, citing having a clean record and extracurricular activities as a good starting place for those interested.
“The first thing is, don’t do anything stupid,” Moats said. “We do a lot of background checks, polygraphs, psychologicals, so you gotta have a clean record. We can’t have people that have committed felonies. Now, if you have a misdemeanor or something minor you did as a kid, we can still hire you. If they’re interested, they have the public safety courses at the high school. I would definitely recommend those because they kinda let them know what they’re getting into before they’re here.”
Regardless of what they grow up to do, those who attended the field trip are already making progress in their lives by meeting these goals, and hopefully the next field trip has even more attendees. Regardless, Polk County will be there for the youth.
“This is part of Jennifer Hulsey’s mentor program, so we’ll always be a part of it,” Moats said.
Take Back Polk students sat in the Polk County Commission meeting room during their tour of facilities on Wednesday, February 27.
Polk County Police Assistant Chief Kiki Evans talks to students about what an interview is like with Polk County Police investigators during a tour of the facility on Wednesday, February 27, 2019.
Redmond EMS Director Marty Robinson explains the ins and outs of ambulances to Take Back Polk mentoring program students during a field trip on Wednesday, February 27, 2019.