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Montgomery Co. students graduate from teen police academy, first class to complete program during academic year

Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 7:44 AM EDT
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MONTGOMERY Co, Va. (WDBJ) - There’s a new group of graduates from Montgomery County’s Teen Police Academy. However, this group is the first of its kind in the school district.

This is the first time the academy worked directly with schools, and deliver the program curriculum during the academic year.

Christiansburg Police Department’s Chief Mark Sisson says you don’t normally see law enforcement agencies come into school systems to do this. He says the idea came from a law enforcement subcommittee meeting.

Sisson says the goal was to bring more minority students into the program to build an even stronger community. So they opened it up to all high schools in Montgomery County.

Wednesday, students’ friends and family had a chance to see them get diplomas for completing the academy.

Student Renard Yassa says this is the opportunity she’s been waiting for.

”I want to do healthcare administration. But I also want to be a SWAT medic as a volunteer or even maybe full-time in the future. But it would be very interesting and I’m just-- I love the SWAT and I love the police force, and to be a medic and to be able to save someone’s life on the spot would be amazing,” said Renard Yassa.

Officers say some students were nervous to be a part of the academy at first, but they say after learning from, and about the officers, the students’ trust grew.

”And that’s, that’s amazing. And that’s, you know, that’s how we have to change the culture, because not all people have had great experiences. And our job is to do the job productively and professionally, and build that trust with our community members,” said Mark Sisson, chief of the Christiansburg Police Department.

The academy began in January and met one to two times a month.

The academy won’t be offered again until next year; however, keep a lookout at the Town of Christiansburg’s and Montgomery County’s website for when registration opens again.

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