Thirty children in Williamson County will soon become the region’s youngest “crime fighters” in the police department’s first Junior Deputy Academy summer program in mid July.
The new program comes as an effort to increase relations between police and the community youth, to show what the police do on a daily basis and show that officers are people too, who are approachable, said Kelli Bomer, community liaison lieutenant for Williamson County’s Sheriff's Office.
“We want that kind of connection with the kids, instead of them being afraid of the officers. Kids are impressionable,” she said. “In the media today, that’s all what’s being seen — cops at riots and all that business. We want them to spend time with us and show we do more than fight crime.”
The junior cadets, ages 11 to 14 years old, will investigate mock crime scenes developed by the Sheriff office’s crime scene analyst, collect evidence, tour the sheriff’s office and county jail and receive first aid and CPR training from Wilco EMS. They will also have the opportunity to have hands on experience with advanced tactical equipment and self-defense techniques. There will be a graduation ceremony for the students following the completion of the program, too.
“I think the defensive tactics and CPR classes will be important,” Bomer said. “These kids will be taught how to defend themselves and how to get away from danger, which is always good. Knowing CPR and first aid at that age will be useful, so they can use it in their daily lives and they can make a difference for someone else.”
The response from the community for the summer program has been big, with 30 children enrolled and even more on a waiting list. There’s a possibility of another program being planned this summer, too, said Patricia Gutierrez, the Wilco Sheriff's Office public information officer.
The plan is to make the Junior Deputy Academy an annual summer activity with three programs per summer, Bomer said.
Classes will begin July 18. Drop off times are 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. in front of the Sheriff’s Office at 508 Rock St, Georgetown, TX. Pick up time is 5:00pm. Classes will end July 21st with a graduation ceremony at 4:00pm. There is no cost for the program, but students will need to bring their lunch each day. A refillable water bottle is also recommended.
For more information about the program, updates on more junior cadet classes and to fill out a child’s application and release form visit https://www.wilco.org/Elected-Officials/Sheriffs-Office/Community-Outreach. Applications must be delivered or mailed to the sheriff’s office no later than July 13.