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DPD plans summer youth programs

The Demopolis Children’s Police Academy is set to be the DPD’s latest community outreach program. Until this year, the youngest program was the Youth Leadership Academy, which is scheduled to take place shortly after the children’s program graduation date.

The Children’s Police Academy will teach participants aged 5-9 about gun safety and anti-bullying through classroom presentations, puzzles, coloring books and cartoon characters on June 10-14 from 8 a.m. to noon.

“We’re going to combine that with fun stuff and field trips,” Police Chief Rex Flowers said of the academy’s lessons and itinerary.

In-town field trips to places like the Demopolis Public Library, Demopolis Fire Department and playground at the City Landing Park will also be part of the five-day academy.

Flowers said the young participants will walk away with knowledge that will positively impact them now and as they get older.

“Once these kids get older in school and experience more of life, these few little classes will help them,” he said.

The introduction of the Children’s Police Academy is a way for the police department to reach another age group as they also host the Youth Leadership Academy for participants aged 11 to 15 and the Citizens Police Academy for adults aged 21 and over.

Snacks will be provided, and inflatables will be on the grounds for the kid’s enjoyment after class. Adult chaperones are welcome to assist with the classes, as well.

The graduation ceremony will immediately follow the last class of the week, during which children will have a pizza party and be awarded certificates. T-shirts will also be given out during the last class.

The next step for participants is the Youth Leadership Academy, which is set for June 17-21 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with lunch provided. It is designed to instill leadership, discipline and honesty among the students.

The curriculum will be centered around building skills in team work, communication and problem solving through activities such as tours of the police and fire department, leadership class, an agility course and a fingerprinting demonstration. Flowers said the program will also give more insight to the DPD and DFD.

“It’s going to be geared more towards what we do,” he said.

Graduation will be an evening event following the close of the Youth Leadership Academy. Certificates will be presented.

Applications for both programs are available at the police department. The Youth Leadership Academy’s application is due June 4 and the children’s academy is accepting applications until all slots are filled. Each program has a 20-student cap. Both programs are free.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, May 15 issue of the Demopolis Times.)