SUMMIT, NJ - Thirty boys and girls, ages 11 - 14, comprised the 2016 Summit Police Department's Youth Academy graduating class, emerging from a program that, in its 12th year, is designed to provide area youth with the opportunity to gain an understanding of the role of the police officer.
The cadets were celebrated in a ceremony attended by family members, Summit Mayor Nora Radest, Police Chief Robert Weck and members of the Summit Common Council.
Participants experience the same types of drills and physical training that men and women receive in today’s police academies. In addition to receiving overviews of criminal investigations, evidence recovery and patrol tactics, the cadets are provided with hands on scenario training in which they process crime scenes, conduct high risk motor vehicle stops, and even have an opportunity to experience some of the challenges of emergency vehicle operation by driving golf carts alongside their instructor.
During their visit to the John H. Stamler Police Academy in Scotch Plains, the cadets utilized the same obstacle course used by police recruits, received unarmed self-defense instruction, and underwent firearms simulator training which demonstrates the split-second decisions that police officers must frequently make. The cadets also attended demonstrations from various specialized units that are available to law enforcement such as the Union County K-9 Unit, SWAT team, Bomb Squad and the Summit Fire Department.
"The mission of the Summit Police Youth Academy is to familiarize our area youth with the role of the police officer, and provide them the opportunity to learn respect for the law, personal responsibility and the importance of teamwork, all through positive interaction with local police officers and exposure to the challenges of responsibility of police work," said Weck.
The Police Chief added, "We believe that we are accomplishing this year after year, and are extremely proud of our graduates as well as the officers involved with the program. This year, 10 of our graduates participated in Summit’s National Night Out Against Crime where they proudly wore their uniforms and demonstrated the drills they had learned.”
Weck acknowledged and thanked Detective Sergeant Rick Proctor, the Academy’s Program Director, Police Officer Gerald McDermott, lead instructor, Police Officers Paulo Santos, Charlie Daly and Ryan Stanek, Academy Secretary Pamela Ferreira, and former Youth Academy graduates Danielle Crosson, Jocelyn Mendez and Angelis Rivas who assisted the Academy instructors.
Other key supporters of the the program include the John H. Stamler Police Academy, the Summit Fire Department and the Union County specialized units. The Grand Summit Hotel once again provided transportation to the Police Academy, as it has every year since the Youth Academy’s inception, and Canoe Brook Country Club supplied golf carts in the Evasive Driving test.
The Summit Police Youth Academy Class of 2016