By Steve Keenan
Some of tomorrow’s law enforcement officers could very well have just gotten a jump-start on their careers.
The first Fayetteville Police Department Youth Police Academy was held in the Fayette County seat last week.
Twenty-five children ages 10-15 from local municipalities such as Oak Hill, Fayetteville and Beckley were able to explore various aspects of law enforcement, such as traffic stops, visits to the courtrooms of Circuit Judge John Hatcher and Magistrate Sharon McGraw, drug awareness, fire and gun safety, and physical training.
“They wanted to learn what we did at work, and it’s that we don’t just sit at a desk,” said Ty Hogan, a Fayetteville Police Department officer who supervised the academy. “They wanted some positive interaction.
“I think they all enjoyed it.”
Hogan thanked the following for helping make the academy a success: Pat Alton, Wal-Mart; Ron George, Fayetteville Baptist Church; Lori Tabit, Gino’s/Tudor’s; the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department; and Amy Nibert and James Pack, for their forensics demonstration.
Prior to graduation on Friday, academy participants were treated to a demonstration by the Fayette County Sheriff Department’s special response unit. During the demonstration, the FCSD officers discussed a variety of their tasks and explained the importance of the specialized units within the department.
In addition to seeing how various equipment works, the children also were able to hear of the abilities of Wilbur, Cpl. J.R. McMullen’s six-year-old bloodhound who is used for tracking and trailing; Riko, Sgt. T.N. Mooney’s Malinois, a multi-purpose K9 trained in apprehension, tracking and explosives; and Zeus, Deputy S.K. Neal’s German shepherd partner who is trained in apprehension, tracking and narcotics.