The Inaugural Teen Sheriff’s Academy kicks off at Byron-Bergen High School

By on July 27, 2018
Genesee County Sheriff Deputy Andrew Mullen demonstrates traffic stop procedure with student participant Shaina DeJesus.  Photo by Gretchen Spittler.

Genesee County Sheriff Deputy Andrew Mullen demonstrates traffic stop procedure with student participant Shaina DeJesus. Photo by Gretchen Spittler.

Did you ever wonder what it would be like to work in law enforcement? Eighteen Genesee County highschoolers are finding out.

The 2018 Teen Sheriff’s Academy is a collaboration between the Sheriff’s Office and Byron-Bergen School Resource Officer (SRO) Matt Butler. Butler, who is in his fourth year as SRO for the district, sees the academy as a natural progression for the community. In his role as SRO, he works to build ties between the Sheriff’s Office and the Byron-Bergen community. He feels this camp contributes to that goal. Training takes place this week at Byron-Bergen High School where students work closely with several representatives from the Sheriff’s Office.

The academy is geared towards students in grades 10 through 12 who are already considering a career in law enforcement.  Each participant passed an application screening process, an interview, and completed eight hours of Sheriff vehicle ride-along experience prior to attending.

In planning the Teen Sheriff’s Academy, Butler tried to condense his own police academy experience into five days. “The goal is realistic exposure,” he said. “A scaled down version of a true police academy. It’s five months squeezed into five days, but it should give the students a good idea if the real police academy is the right place for them.” Participants undertake classroom work, physical training, tours of the county jail and communications center, emergency response instruction, and traffic stop simulations.

Butler’s fellow instructors, Deputy Deb Snyder and Deputy Chad Cummings, reinforced the message of realistic exposure. “It can take years to get a job in the Sheriff’s Office and then it can take just as long to be scheduled during the day,” said Snyder. “We work late nights, afternoons and holidays. We are open 24/7. We never close.”

“It’s not like TV,” added Cummings. “This experience will offer a different perspective. The communications, the follow-up, the paperwork – people don’t think of those when they think of police work. It’s not about flashing lights and making arrests. That is why we required the ride-along for this program. During classroom discussion, we want the students to be able to reference their real-life experience. It’s a whole other side. It’s not “COPS,” it’s helping people with their problems.”

Cummings did not begin work with the Sheriff’s Department until 35, choosing first to build a foundation in the military. Ultimately, he knew he wanted to work in law enforcement. He encourages participants to keep working toward their goals, even if it takes until they are 35.
In his welcoming remarks, Byron-Bergen Superintendent Mickey Edwards encouraged the participants to “take advantage of every opportunity this academy puts in front of you and all the people who are here to help you be your best.”

“Law enforcement is a noble career,” said Edwards. “My eldest son is a Police Officer and I couldn’t be more proud of him. There is no greater calling than to protect and serve others.”

The 2018 Teen Sheriff’s Academy concluded Friday, July 27 with a graduation ceremony and cookout.

Student participants Zachary Babcock, Cameron Buck, Shaina DeJesus, Bailey Facett, Brandon Kowalski, Ethan Pocock, Devon Reigle, Morgan Rhodes, Luke Rindell, Noah Toal, Turner Shwan, Gianni Vallese, Alessandra Wolf, Jayson Yauchzee, with Deputy Matt Butler, Deputy Chad Cummings, Deputy Ryan Delong, Deputy Andrew Mullen, and Deputy Deborah Snyder. Photo by Gretchen Spittler.

Student participants Zachary Babcock, Cameron Buck, Shaina DeJesus, Bailey Facett, Brandon Kowalski, Ethan Pocock, Devon Reigle, Morgan Rhodes, Luke Rindell, Noah Toal, Turner Shwan, Gianni Vallese, Alessandra Wolf, Jayson Yauchzee, with Deputy Matt Butler, Deputy Chad Cummings, Deputy Ryan Delong, Deputy Andrew Mullen, and Deputy Deborah Snyder. Photo by Gretchen Spittler.

 

You must be logged in to post a comment Login