Cadets from the Mt. Pleasant Police Department’s 21st Youth Police Academy recently celebrated their graduation with their law enforcement mentors, family and friends. Those in attendance enjoyed comments from academy leader Officer Josh Theisen, and retired educator and coach Denny LaFleur who served as keynote speaker.
For the past three weeks these sixth through eighth grade cadets learned what it takes to become a law enforcement official; integrity, trust, leadership, compassion, and the ability to quickly assess a situation. All of this is in addition to the rigorous physical requirements of the job. By completing a series of hands-on training sessions and classroom instruction, cadets realized how much knowledge and fitness a police officer must possess to perform their job.
Cadet Andrew Moutsatson, Mt. Pleasant Middle School 6th grader shared, “During the academy I learned to believe in myself and push through challenging tasks. I was surprised at the many responsibilities a police officer has, and all of the paperwork they have to complete. It was very nice of the police officers to take time to teach us,” he continued. “They were all very kind, caring and helpful. I know Officer Theisen will be there to help me with many things when I am in the middle school.”
Mt. Pleasant Middle School 8th grader Chloe Churchman graduated from the academy last year and returned this year as a cadet instructor. She originally learned about the academy through her school. “The Youth Police Academy made me a better person due to its discipline and challenges it provided,” Chloe stated. “The police officers teaching the academy are real people and they are very kind, considerate and caring. Besides learning so much about law enforcement, it was wonderful to get to know the officers personally, and know they are here to help us in so many ways.”
The Youth Police Academy is a free program which offers sixth to eighth grade youth an up-close view of the skills and necessary training needed for law enforcement officials. Applications for this summer program are distributed through the schools in May and also available at the Division of Public Safety, 804 E. High Street, Mt. Pleasant.
Gratitude is extended to the Central Michigan University Police Department, Isabella County Sheriff Department, Michigan State Police, Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Police Department, Saginaw Police Department, DNR, MMR, Mt. Pleasant Fire Department, and Isabella County Central Dispatch who also shared their expertise with the cadets throughout this program.