MCSO Teen Police Academy up/running, ‘The mentality is don’t quit, help the community’

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MONROE COUNTY, N.Y. (WROC) — The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office concluded the first session for their summer Teen Police Academy.

High schoolers are selected from a competitive applicant pool for a hands-on learning experience, on what it takes to be a police officer.

The week-long program aims to give students a taste of what the actual police academy with MCSO looks and feels like. Deputy Phil Fantanza, one of the instructors says it’s completely free, and students walk away with a full graduation ceremony and certification.

“On Monday these kids come in and they don’t know each other, they’re coming in from all over the county, there’s not a lot of talking,” said Fantanza. “But by Friday these kids are helping each other complete tasks, complete obstacle courses, carrying each other, no one is finishing last.”

The first day is like jumping into cold water.

“Monday is a pretty strenuous day we do a lot of physical training/activity,” said Fantanza. “It’s all designed for a purpose there’s a method to the madness, the PT in the morning is designed to get them a little stressed up, get their bodies working, and then we give them some tasks to do, work in groups complete certain jobs.”

At the end of the first day Fantanza says they ask all the students if they’re ready to take up the rest of the week. All of them were completely up for the challenge.

But it hasn’t been easy.

“We do repetitions of push ups, sit ups, mile runs,” said Philiasophia Wood, junior at Brockport High School.

Some activities may feel too close to reality at times with high tech simulations. But all of them teach important skills.

“You deal with a lot of situations where it’s not easy and it shows you how to conquer that,” said Kenzi Ives, senior at Webster Thomas High School.

Students say a warrior mindset is what they’re leaving with.

The training is also about getting to the root of why police officers do what they do. Fantanza says it’s to be there for the community, improve relationships and help one another.

“Usually you’re contacting us in one of the worst moments in your life, for me it’s the ability to get in that situation and really help someone,” he said.

“Gives you a little omf,” said Ives.

“Takes that certain person to have mentality of Don’t quit and to help the community,” said Wood.

The program is completely free. Planning is already in place for next year’s program. A second week-long session will run July 26 – 30.

Officers start canvasing schools and handing out applications in February.

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