SPARTA, NJ - A brand new program filled with hands on activities awaits area students participating in the third annual Junior Police Day Camp. 

The Sparta Police Department is inviting students who will be entering fifth, sixth, seventh and eight grades in September.  This year Sgt John Lamon has revamped the program to incorporate several facets of police work, in addition to the focus on drug and alcohol awareness. 

"I want to get them up and moving," said Lamon.  Explaining that this year there will be "blocks of instruction, about 45 minutes each, with different scenarios, to keep them interested."

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Lamon laid out the new curriculum that will include participants placed into teams for friendly competition:

  • Eye Witness Identification - participants will watch an incident played out in front of them.  They will then be asked questions about what they saw.  They will be taught about how and what to observe to increase accuracy.
  • Fingerprinting - not only will they be showed how to fingerprint someone, participants will be learning how to lift fingerprints from different surfaces, using different tools and techniques.
  • Crime Scene Processing - building on the fingerprinting lessons, participants will learn how to secure a crime scene and identify, mark  and photograph evidence.  Participants will be broken up into teams to compete against each other  being judged on their handling of the scene.
  • Using the Five Senses - using blindfolds, participants will run through different scenarios that require the use of other senses to acquire information.
  • Search with Canine - learning about the abilities of the tracking dogs with a live search
  • Medavac Helicopter and Fire Department Jaws of Life - observing a mock rescue using the resources of the Sparta Fire Department and State Police or Air One medavac helicopter
  • Escape Room - using clues hidden in a room to be able to get out of the room.  Not only using deductive reasoning skill but also team building
  • Driving While Intoxicated - using the Fatal Vision Goggles to understand how alcohol impairs spatial judgment and  physical coordination
  • Krav Magna - participants will learn escape techniques, getting  a basic introduction to the Israeli Martial Arts form that has recently been taught to teachers in area schools
  • Physical Fitness - competing against other teams in activities such as obstacle course

Lamon also explained there will be an introduction to basic military formation and simple commands.

The Junior Police Day Camp will be run by Lamon and Cpl Joe Antonello.  Lamon said he has Criminal Justice students from Sussex Technical High School on board to work with the participants as counselors. 

The camp will run from August 24 through 26, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the PAL building on Station Road.  Registration packets are available at the Sparta Police Department headquarters.

"We will end a little early on the last day for a pizza party and awards ceremony," said Lamon.

He continually emphasized the program's activities and "how it is going to be a hands-on learning experience."

 "I don't want them to be bored," said Lamon. "I want them to tell their friends when they go back to school that it was a great program."