Future officers taught skills

“You can learn a lot about what the police do,” said Tanner Legasse, a participant in the Oak Harbor Police Youth Academy.

The first session of the 2006 Youth Academy has come to a successful conclusion.

The free academy is a week packed with hands-on demonstrations and training designed to inform and inspire future law enforcement officers. Participants can range in age from 12 to 17 years old.

This session had a full house of 16 participants and the next session is already full.

“The academy filled up quickly,” said Officer Steve Nordstrand, lead instructor of the academy. The second session of the youth academy will take place from July 10 to 14.

Activities the youth participate in include crime scene investigation, special weapons and tactics demonstration, a “ropes course,” and firing range familiarization along with many other subjects.

“Doing the ropes course helped us to work together as a team,” said Brittany Jo Rusinski who enjoyed the challenges that the course offered.

Part of the training is a behind the wheel tour of the SWAT tank and dusting for prints with graphite powder under the instruction of a veteran identification technician.

Renee Mueller examines prints for the Oak Harbor Police Department and has over 24 years of experience.

“How many prints have you examined in your career?” asked Legasse as Mueller checked out prints the youth had lifted from a soda can.

“Thousands,” said Mueller as she complimented the youth on doing a fine job of collecting prints.

The program is not an “at risk” program for troubled kids but better suited to well achieving youth with a real interest in law enforcement.

Most of the participants look forward to a career in law enforcement.

“This is what I want to be,” said Ryan Kinker about being a police officer. “Learning this kind of stuff is great.”

“You can get an inside look at the police department before you make up your mind about becoming a cop,” said participant Aaron Gomsrud.

Youth who missed out on the academy this year may have another chance.

“We try to offer the academy every year,” said Nordstrand.

If you have questions about the academy please contact Officer Steve Nordstrand at 279-4625.

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