Georgetown Junior Police Academy puts cadets to the test

GEORGETOWN – Leadership, responsibility and discipline were core-value cornerstones of the 2017 Georgetown Junior Police Academy.

About two dozen youth were put to physical and mental tests during the five-day academy held June 26-30 at Georgetown Middle School.

Junior Cadet Academy participants stand in front of Delaware State Police Trooper 2, the agency’s aviation unit.

“The point of it is to continue interacting with our youth in Georgetown throughout the summer,” said Georgetown Police Department Det. Joey Melvin, school resource officer at Georgetown Middle School. “It’s a good way to expose them what a law enforcement career is like, but also to build a foundation, those fundamentals, those core values in these kids and inspire them to be leaders. We use the same core values as we do for our police department.”

Open to youth in grades six through eight, cadets chosen had to apply for the academy, be in good academic and discipline standing and be able to run one mile without stopping. Det. Melvin also invited last year’s academy graduates to participate.

“We put a lot of effort into them taking ownership of their group,” Det. Melvin said. “Every day I would designate a leader within the group. They would be assigned the task They would know what task had to be done. They’d be accountable actions of the other junior cadets. If that leader failed, they’d get fired, and I would hire a new one. They learned a lot about what it’s like to be responsible for a large group.”

Daily sessions ran from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., starting with a one-mile morning run. For various violations – talking out of turn, forgetting their water bottle – cadets accrued “gigs” which equated to push-ups and sit-ups.

Junior Cadet Academy participants Brianna Jennette and Hannah Norman team up on a tractor tire flip during the “boot camp” segment of the week-long event in late June.

“During each break, it was their responsibly to work off these gigs,” said Det. Melvin. “There were some days they had several hundred gigs to work off.”

A “boot camp” event featuring a tractor tire flip, running with weights and parachutes was held one day.

“The point is to really push them to places never been before, mentally and physically, and to show them that they can push through it,” said Det. Melvin. “Our hope is when they are met with adversity throughout their life this would be a good teaching tool, ‘Hey, I’ve been there, done that’ and it will be OK.”

Cadets line up in front of the Chad Spicer Memorial on The Circle in Georgetown.

A series of special guests and presenters included representatives from the Department of Corrections, Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security, the Beau Biden Foundation, the Dover Police SWAT commander, Georgetown Police Chief R.L. Hughes, Delaware State Police Aviation Unit and a K-9 demonstration.

The academy culminated with graduation the evening of June 30.

“They all graduated; nobody quit,” said Det. Melvin. “We had some cadets with serious medical issues and they pushed through. We had one kid – that I didn’t realize until mid-week – he was riding his bicycle there every day, eight miles each way.”

“So, it was a good testament that there are some kids with a good work ethic. I don’t subscribe to the opinion of many that our youth are lazy,” said et. Melvin. “This is a good example. They looked forward to each day, even though they knew they were going to be tested.”

The Sussex County Post delivers news from Georgetown and southern Delaware. Follow @SussexPost on Twitter.

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