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Kentwood Police host high school youth academy

A Kentwood Police officer standing in front of high school students in a classroom
Kentwood Police Department
Kentwood Police host high school youth academy

High School students interested in a career in law enforcement are getting a first hand look at opportunities this week. The Kentwood Police Department is hosting its annual high school youth academy.
“A lot of people when they’re growing up, they’re trying to figure out what they want to do when they grow up and police is one of those things that at some point almost, goes through every kid’s mind,” Kentwood Police Sergeant, Tim Wierenga, said.

Wierenga heads up the youth academy taking place this week. He says high school students from as far away as Baldwin have made their way to their annual week-long police academy. The academy showcases training in the various aspects of policing.

“We want to give high school students an idea of what that job entails. We want to give them an idea of the different avenues, things they can do when they become a police officer. And the different things that they can do,” he said, “It’s not always a police officer on the road, there are different things. And see if it’s something they are interested in-at all and if it’s for them or not for them.”

Wierenga says students will take part in numerous police activities such as traffic stops, drunk driving enforcement, building searches, handcuffing as well as Special Response Teams. He adds, it’s possible that graduating seniors, who are interested, can move forward in a cadet program.

“Ideally, if somebody truly still wants to become a police officer, we’d love to interview them, or give them the next step of being a cadet, if they’d like to, while they attend college classes to become a police officer. They could work here, get some reimbursement, kind of benefits them 10 more ways when they do that and get the experience, their foot in the door,” Wierenga said.

The police academy runs this week and wraps up with a program and graduation ceremony. They’ll start gearing up for their next academy in the fall.

Jennifer is an award winning broadcast news journalist with more than two decades of professional television news experience including the nation's fifth largest news market. She's worked as both news reporter and news anchor for television and radio in markets from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo all the way to San Francisco, California.
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