Parker police academy for teens hopes to inspire career in law enforcement

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PARKER, Colo. -- The first Parker Police Department Teen Citizens Police Academy was held Tuesday with the goal of setting young people up with a potential career in law enforcement.

“The purpose is to get a group of students here, teenagers, 13 to 19 years old, a better understanding of what it means to be a police officer," said Commander Chris Peters with PPD.

About 40 students participated. The course included a weeklong introduction to the job.

When ninth grader Noel Bartlett heard about the experience, she wanted in.

"When my stepmom told me about it, I was like, 'Sounds awesome. I want to do it.'"

“This week, we have demonstrations from our arrest-control folks. Yesterday, a couple of the students got to shoot a taser at a target, so that was pretty fun," said Peters. "And that’s the idea: as much hands-on experience as possible. When it’s fun, it sinks in."

Noel Bartlett is interested in police SWAT operations.

"I tried on the 20-pound helmet... then I tried on a 20-pound vest and that was interesting," Bartlett said.

But it’s not just the teens who learned something new.

“We have a great opportunity to learn their insight, how we communicate to their age group and what we can do better as well," said Peters.

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