While some teenagers have been spending their time away from school by playing Fortnite and hitting the swimming pool, one group of dedicated area youth have been learning about the ins and outs of law enforcement by attending the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office Youth Academy.

The academy packs a lot into seven days for the young law enforcement enthusiasts who are perhaps interested in a career in the field.  It typically runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.  This year, the classes are running from Monday, June 28 to Wednesday, July 7. 

So another group of academy students will be graduating soon.

Young people will learn the basic functions of a law enforcement agency and the requirements of a career in law enforcement – as well as the advantages.

The program packs a lot into seven days.  It trains the teens on preventing driving while texting or drinking, and it also includes firearms training on the Sherriff’s Department’s crime simulator, which puts people in potential situations in which the students must respond fast or get “shot” themselves in some scenarios. 

The course includes question and answer sessions with the Armed Forces, the FBI and the  DEA, as well as lessons on proper traffic stop procedures.  There are also sections on physical fitness and working with K-9’s to detect bombs or conduct other searches.

Some of the training takes place at the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department District 2 Office at 5440 Millstream Road in McLeansville.

The department’s promotional material on the youth academy states that it “is an exciting, engaging program which seeks to inspire youth – ages 13-17 – toward a future in public safety by presenting subjects condensed from the training curriculum for law enforcement officers.”

It goes on to explain the goal of the academy: “to stimulate a positive interest in law enforcement in youth, as well as heighten awareness of the positive aspects of being a good citizen.”

The Guilford County Sheriff’s Department, like law enforcement departments across the country, has been having trouble filling vacancies for patrol officers and jail detention officers.  One hope of the youth academy is that it will encourage the youngsters to pursue a career in law enforcement.