Demopolis police plans leadership academy

Published 3:56 pm Wednesday, May 20, 2015

While school is almost out for the summer, the Demopolis Police Department is preparing to open its doors for the first annual Youth Leadership Academy.

The camp is something Police Chief Tommy Reese has dreamed of doing for years, and he is finally getting his wish.

“With what is happening with law enforcement around the nation and kids in Demopolis in the summertime really have nothing to do, this something I wanted to do,” Reese said.

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Reese said the camp will give kids an opportunity to do something fun and educational with their summer.

“When I was a child we really didn’t have anything to do. All we had to do was summer time play and possibly get in trouble,” Reese joked. “I think this [camp] will keep those kids that would be normally sitting at home playing a game or not doing anything out of trouble.”

The camp, which is planned for June, will host two sessions.

The first session will be held June 1-5, and the second session will be held June 15-19.

Each session will host around 20 students between ages 11 and 15.

“We’re going to build some knowledge about law enforcement about working in the public sector and try to build some trust with the kids,” Reese said.

“We’re going to teach them about working together as a team.”

The camp will also feature field trips and physical activities.

“We are going to do some physical fitness stuff to build up the kids’ confidence,” Reese said. “We’ll do some running, some team sports and maybe some fishing. We’re going to go over to the police academy in Selma and see how the academy runs.”

Reese said he felt like this was a good time to host a camp like this with law enforcement’s relationship with the community being such a hot topic of discussion around the country.

“What we’re seeing around the nation is that law enforcement is under attack, and we want to change that perception in Demopolis,” Reese said.

“We haven’t really had a bad issue here, and we want to keep that cohesiveness of the community and law enforcement here.”

Reese also hopes it inspires some kids to go into law enforcement or being a first responder.

“I feel like this age group will be able to absorb more of it, and they may be our future of our law enforcement and the public sector around town, you never know,” Reese said.

“Not every child is going to go off to college, and not every child is going to go off to the military.”

When the camp is over, Reese wants the young minds to walk away with a sense of accomplishment.

“I want them to walk away with a feeling that they have accomplished something and that they can excel. I want them to have a feeling that they have grown,” Reese said.

Applications for the camp can be picked up at the Demopolis Police Department.