On Wednesday, June 26, Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers had words of high praise for the first Youth Academy class to graduate under his administration.

He said youth today need a good deal of guidance – and they got plenty of that at the Youth Academy.

“Our youth today need guidance from adults more than ever. In this age of independence and technology, as well as misinformation regarding law enforcement’s role in our communities’ programs, like the GCSO [Guilford County Sheriff’s Office] Youth Academy, are of great help in instilling leadership values,” Rogers stated in a press release. “The participants – ages 13-17 – learned about law enforcement operations and what it takes to have a career in law enforcement and first responder agencies.”

The sheriff added that he was very proud of the graduates, which he referred to as “a diverse group of 30 young people representing all corners of our county.”

One of the not so hidden motives behind the program is to get young people in the county interested in a career in law enforcement to help the Sheriff’s Department fill future vacancies.  It’s not clear if that will happen or not in the year’s to come, but so far, 10 of the graduates have committed to joining the Explorer Post – a law enforcement education and community service program chartered by the Boy Scouts of America – and Rogers said he’s confident that the youngsters who took the class will continue to be “a bright and valuable group” in Guilford County.

Those who took part in the program, which began with an orientation session on Friday, June 14, went on to learn about the basic functions of a law enforcement agency, as well as the requirements of a career in law enforcement.

Rogers said this week that it was an honor to have the youngsters in the Youth Academy, and he told them “Remember that the decisions you make now help forge a path to success, learn from your mistakes and build on your successes.”

As part of the program academy participants got to go through the department’s “Firearms Simulator Training,” – a video training program where the kids may, like officers in the field, have to think quick whether to hold their fire or blow a bad guy away to save themselves.   The program also included education about career preparation, texting and driving, DWI prevention, handcuffing techniques, police chases, physical fitness training and working with K-9 officers and bomb robots.

Bad apples were not allowed to take the class.  A description of the program from the department reads:  “Note: This is not a ‘boot camp’ or rehabilitation academy.  AT RISK students, who have criminal histories, extensive negative involvement with law enforcement and/or the juvenile justice system, poor grades, poor conduct, and/or regular in or out of school suspensions WILL NOT be accepted into the program.”