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Bellevue Police Department's teen academy inspiring future officers

Posted at 7:17 PM, May 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-29 20:40:51-04

BELLEVUE, Neb. (KMTV) — School is out for Bellevue students.

Some may be on vacation, others are waking up at the crack of dawn getting the experience of life in law enforcement.

"It made me realize their job is a lot tougher than I thought," Cristiana Green said.

Wednesday afternoon, Bellevue students like including Green and Samantha Carney are experiencing the intensity that comes with being a police officer.

"It's extremely fun and it helps you understand a career like this may be like," Carney said.

The Bellevue high-schoolers are inside the police and fire department's concrete training facility with hardly any light. Equipped with flashlights and air soft guns, the police department is sending students into the building to conduct a mock-building search to separate criminals and civilians.

"It's very nerve-racking, but i think it's important to do because it puts you in position of actual police officers," Green said. "You don't know what's around the corner and that's what officers have to do every day."

Bellevue Police has seen this program grow from just a few to about 30 students over the past decade. Roger Cox with the department says ten-hour sessions over the course of three days gives a sense of what this line of work is like. This is also a way for police to build a better connection with teens.

"Every year is special because we get to build that relationship or answer those different questions or kill some of those perceptions of law enforcement," Cox said.

Some other lessons included Tac-Med training and a demonstration of commands from the K-9 team. Police are squeezing all the experience they can into 30 hours.

Bellevue's Teen Academy has inspired students to enter careers in law enforcement over the past decade. Some have gone on to become state troopers, corrections officers and dispatchers.