The First Hour
We suggest that you start with the UNIT "Introduction to the Junior Police Academy”. It suggests several options for starting the program off with some dramatic flare. It’s important to provide cadets with an overall vision of the program, while furnishing them with a glimpse of the incredible scope of American law enforcement – as well as the stakes involved.
Good morning cadets. My name is Officer Sam Jones, I serve as a School Resource Officer with the Smithville Police Department.
Welcome to the Junior Police Academy.
In this Academy you will learn about my profession – law enforcement.
Graduation from an actual law enforcement academy, like the one I attended, the Smithville County Law Enforcement Academy, was required before I could be placed on active duty.
It does, however, confer on you a certain rank and distinction that will follow you into adulthood.
What I'm talking about?
Well, for one thing, you will graduate from the academy with an insight into policing that few citizens possess.
Imagine it’s your job to uphold the law fairly and firmly.
You must strive to prevent crime.
When a crime is committed, you must pursue and bring to justice those responsible.
You need to be professional, calm and restrained in the face of violence and apply only that force which is necessary.
You must protect, help and reassure all members of your community, striving to reduce their fear of crime.
In doing these things, you must be compassionate, courteous and patient, acting without fear or favor or prejudice to the rights of others.
You must act with integrity, common sense and sound judgement in all that you do – while on-duty and off.
You will experience life like no other profession on earth.
You witness the best and the worst behavior in your fellow citizens.
You must deal with good people on their worse day and bad people on their best.
People at their extremes – not from the comfort of a classroom – but in your face or worse yet, just over your shoulder.
As a police officer, you don’t read about history, you are an eyewitness, sometimes a participant.
You must possess good judgement and display character. Why?
Because you are entrusted with enormous power: to deprive a fellow citizen of their liberty.
As a police officer you are entrusted with the power to take into custody citizens – by force if necessary.
On rare occasions, you may even have to use lethal force and deprive a citizen of their life.
Police authority is unlike any granted to other members of the government.
In this sense, police officers are the very pillars of a democratic society.
Trust between citizens and police is critical to a functioning democracy.
In the United States our rights are set forth in the United States Constitution. They are the rightful heritage of every citizen.
In a very real way, day in and day out, it is a police officers’ responsibility to safeguard a citizens’ constitutional rights.
The way that police officers talk to citizens;
the way that they interact during a traffic stop;
every sentence that they put together; every comment that they make to the community...
...all have a profound impact on how citizens view their government at large.
Every time a police officer has contact with the public, the citizen involved makes a judgement.
And studies have shown that the single most determining factor for how a citizen evaluates that contact is not “did I received a ticket”, but rather “was I treated fairly.”
That judgement has the power to renew or erode the citizen’s confidence in democracy and the fairness of our system of government.