LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -A team of Lawton Police officers took to the classroom Monday to kick off a five-day event for the Junior Citizens Police Academy.
Officers hope the program gives teens a better idea of what they do and what they face on the job. The Lawton Gang Unit spoke with the kids about their role in protecting the community. The rest of the week includes activities, lectures and videos about K9s, narcotics, CSI and crime prevention.
The Lawton Police Department says they're really excited about the turnout this year and they're eager to show the kids there's much more to law enforcement than what they see on the streets.
"We're all in this together. We need them as much as they need us," said Sgt.Timothy Jenkins of the Lawton Police Department.
Teaching younger generations about the different areas of law enforcement is what Lawton's Junior Citizen's Police Academy is all about
"Some kids want to be cops someday, so it means a lot to me that these kids come in here and want to learn," said Jenkins.
Jenkins also wants the kids to take away a new respect and appreciation for officers rather than the issues they see with law enforcement on the internet or social media.
"They can see not all cops are bad. Not all cops do bad things. It's a part of the job they have to do and it's a tough job. So, by them coming to this class and being the age that they are and learning it, they can tell their friends and their friends," said Jenkins.
Lieutenant Brian Shotts wants the kids to learn how they can help keep the community safe and to be able to recognize problems when they see it.
"They may not know what they're seeing or why or what's going on so this lets them know and gives them a little bit of power to know what's happening around them," said Shotts.
At the end of the day, Shotts said they're excited because they know the future of law enforcement is in good hands.
"It's very encouraging to see them trying to get a grip at an early age in their community," said Shotts.
After completing the program at the end of the week, the kids will receive a certificate and they can list this as an accomplishment on their resumes. You can register for the next class, which takes place July 18- 22. It's free for teens between the ages of 13 and 18. You can find more information on the Lawton Police Department website.