Police department holds youth academy

Participants in the first youth academy held by the Harrington Police Department take a break to stretch their legs. Special to The Journal

Participants in the first youth academy held by the Harrington Police Department take a break to stretch their legs. Special to The Journal

HARRINGTON — During the closing ceremony of Harrington Police Department’s first youth academy Friday, Andrew Greenley said he learned a lot about teamwork and what it takes to be a police officer.

“But one of the first things we learned about was respect, respect and more respect,” he jokingly added.

Andrew, along with 27 other young men from the nearby area, literally ran through the week with pride, according to School Resource Officer L.B. Stubbs who organized the week-long training camp.

Although the event was open and free to all students in the Lake Forest School District area between the ages of 11 and 16, no females applied, according to Harrington Police Chief Norman Barlow.

He was so impressed with the event, however, that he said he hoped to turn it into a two-week camp next year.

“L.B. did an excellent job in getting this ready and organized. There were no glitches. And I’m really proud of the youth,” he said.

“I’m just excited to be involved with the youth. They’re learning to keep their nose clean, stay in shape and be kind to each other. They did a lot of networking, too.”

The academy offered youth a chance to explore equipment and scenarios encountered on the job as a police officer, such as mock traffic stops complete with radar equipment.

Participants in the first youth academy held by the Harrington Police Department also ventured to the Harrington Fire Company last week to learn about fire safety. Special to The Journal

Participants in the first youth academy held by the Harrington Police Department also ventured to the Harrington Fire Company last week to learn about fire safety. Special to The Journal

Youth also participated in k-9 demonstrations, firearms training, simulated crime scenes, self- defense tactics, patrol procedures and alcohol and tobacco awareness.

Each day included physical fitness training twice a day and team-building activities throughout, according to Chief Barlow.

“That’s the way the [police] academy is,” he said. “This was very similar. Once you’re there, you do everything together, too, just like these guys did.”

He added that the youth academy cost $5,000-6,000 to run for the week “at no cost to taxpayers.”

Plans were made months in advance to ensure adequate police coverage was available to the city of Harrington for the duration.

Funds were also needed for shirts, awards, snacks and lunch to name a few necessary items.

“We have fundraisers to help with this kind of thing. We used some of the money raised from our calendar sales, for example, to help fund the academy,” Chief Barlow added.

“We’re invested in the youth here. You might have a couple of police officers, doctors or other important people in that crowd right now,” he said of the group.

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