UNION, NJ – Union’s newest police recruits -- ten-, eleven-, and twelve-year olds -- began their week long Junior Police Academy experience on Monday in the Union High School gym.

“This is a great program,” said Union police officer Mike Loguidice.  “It’s important for kids in the community to see behind the scenes of what police officers do.  The kids are excited”

On day one, after introductions and roll call, the forty students were put into four teams of ten (five girls and five boys).  The recruits, all students heading into sixth grade in September, then learned some basic academy positions, such as how to stand at attention – feet at 45 degrees, hands in fists, head up, no slouching. 

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“There’s no walking here, the recruits have to hustle,” said Union Police Sgt. Dorothy Mascidlo-Skiper.   “Sometimes orders are barked at them.  We want them to take the program seriously, just like in the real academy.”  Mascidlo-Skiper said students are referred to as “Recruit Smith” [last name] throughout the week.  They are taught to annunciate and respond to officers with respect.  “They are taught to show respect for themselves, for the instructors and other recruits, and for their belongings,” said Mascidlo-Skiper.  The program emphasizes teamwork.  “Success for one is success for all."

Day one included lessons on basic police investigation, Loguidcie said.  “We begin with basic police calls, such as parking violations or dog barking incidents.  Then we move into disputes and shoplifting calls.  We will also touch on serious crimes such as robbery and homicides with the crime scene investigators.”  Loguidice said the crime scene investigation includes finger printing and underwater evidence collection.  “We have a mock crime scene.  The kids learn what evidence is important and what’s not.”

Stay tuned to TAPinto Union for daily updates on what Union’s youngest recruits are learning in the academy.