After two weeks of training and education, 26 cadets graduated from the Third Annual Daleville Junior Police Academy on Friday, July 19.
The cadets studied different areas of public safety, especially from the different departments in Daleville, and learned CPR and the importance of not driving under the influence. They also met local and state law enforcement officials and first responders.
The lessons on public safety included a bit of fun as well, like getting a cool down from the Daleville firetruck.
The cadets also tested their physical fitness on the DPD's obstacle course and were trained in proper weapons safety before going to the DPD’s shooting range.
Before presenting each cadet with their certificate of completion for the program, Police Chief Allen Medley presented special awards: the Sharpshooter Award, Physical Fitness Award and Most Outstanding Cadet.
Cheyenne Monk received the female Sharpshooter Award, and Jordan Johnson received the male Sharpshooter Award. Nyleah Page received the female Physical Fitness Award, and Mason Lafferty received the male Physical Fitness Award.
Johnson was also presented with the Most Outstanding Cadet Award.
Medley called the junior academy event a success, especially watching the cadets “open up” during the two weeks.
“It’s been very successful,” he said. “These past two academies, the first day, everybody’s kind of quiet and they don’t know what to expect, but it’s kind of honoring to, over time, watch them grow and watch them open up.”
Medley said there have been over 50 cadets to go through the junior academy over the past three years, with many of those cadets being new to the program.
“It’s grown,” he said. “The first year, I think we averaged maybe 12-13 (cadets). Last year, we averaged probably 18-20. This year, the first day we were here, I think we ended up with 25. I look forward to next year being even bigger.
“I would call it a success. It’s been nice to see that many different faces come through here.”
Medley said the program was successful thanks to the support from the community, the city and chamber, and the help he received from within the Daleville Department of Public Safety.
“I want to give a big thanks to all the vendors that helped,” he said. “I’ve got a list of them a mile long. There have been citizens that have helped, the vendors, the restaurants have been outstanding. For three years now, we’ve not had to worry about lunch at all. They’ve always been provided.
“My department has always been outstanding. A lot of the admin guys have really stepped up and done a lot. It’s not a one-man thing, that’s for sure. One man can’t do it, and I realize that.”
Because of the success of this year’s junior academy, Medley said the DPD is already thinking ahead to next year, discussing the possibility of offering an Advanced Junior Police Academy to older cadets.
“I think that’s one thing we’re going to look into now that we’ve got a good thing established,” he said. “Instead of these kids having to return every year and do the same old thing, we can say, hey, we’re going to do an advanced course for some of the ones that have already come through.”
Medley described this year’s group of cadets as “involved” and “attentive.” He also said the cadets learned lessons during the junior academy that are applicable for any career, not just those in public safety.
“I’ve had a lot of talks with them about… learning respect, how to give respect,” he said. “Give respect to get respect is something that we try to push.”
He also said the cadets are taught to try their best and show accountability.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re going to be in police, fire, rescue, whatever,” he said. “Whatever job you do, that’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to have to be accountable, be respectful, and we try to teach them to be on time. There’s a reason for all that.
“I’d love to see every one of them be police officers, fire and rescue, but I know they’re not all going to do that, and that’s fine. We just want to teach them there’s other things out there, but whatever it is, you’ve got to have that respect.”
Medley said he was especially thankful for the cadets and their parents for being a part of this year’s junior academy.
“I’m so thankful, and I want the parents of these kids to know I appreciate them letting them come,” he said. “It’s like I told these kids, you could be doing anything else. This is your last downhill slide until you start school. You could be doing anything else, but you chose to come here. Me personally, I thank them for that because that means a lot to me that you chose to spend two weeks with me versus the beach, swimming in the pool, doing whatever. That lets us as a department, me as the chief, know we’re getting to somebody.”