(Bartlett, TN) Joining the swim team or going to football camp maybe typical summertime activities, but almost 20 teenagers at the Bartlett Police Department are spending their vacations going to police academy.
“It allows the kids in the area to see what we really do for a living as police officers. Too many times they talk about computers that have everyone’s fingerprints and DNA like on CSI and NCSI. It doesn’t work that way,” said Lt. Todd Halford.
To dispel some of those rumors, the police department holds five days of classes for the teens.
The teens learned how to collect fingerprints and other evidence, how K9 teams sniff out narcotics and the dangers of driving while intoxicated by driving with drunk goggles.
Everyone’s favorite seemed to be Friday’s trip to the firing range.
“I probably shot the best, I would say. It was a tight grouping. It was very fun,” said 15-year-old Mark Massey.
Other than the fun, Massey also learned about dangerous out there.
“I learned about a lot of narcotics I didn’t even know about and their side effects,” said Massey.
Massey and the other teens graduated from the program Friday.
Morgan Smyth says the program changed her life.
“I’m going to be taking a lot of second thinking about my choices and make better choices when I am with my friends and not at home with my parents,” the 13-year-old said.
Bartlett PD pays for the program, so it’s free for the teens.
Syed Zadi is glad his son went.
“He was telling me new things that I didn’t even know about,” said Zadi.
Bartlett PD hopes these teenagers will take this information they’ve learned back to their families and friends at school.
They have another academy coming up in the fall for adults, but it’s already full.