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Police Teen Academies Offer Youth Inside Perspective

Kids marching with a police officer overseeing

A “recruit class” from the Zionsville Police Teen Academy gets in their morning march.

Ask any three- or four-year old boy what they want to be when they grow up and chances are pretty good that they might say “a police officer.” However, somewhere along the way, some of those thoughts get re-directed toward other occupations. Three north side police departments offer a Police Teen Academy that are intended to strengthen police ties with the community, and quite possibly, drive young people — boys and girls — towards a career in law enforcement.

My son, now almost 15, participated in the Zionsville Police Teen Academy in 2012. He loved it. For one week of the summer, he spent from 8:00am to 4:00pm doing physical activity, learning how to conduct traffic stops and building searches and understanding the importance of good decision-making skills.

Truthfully, he didn’t love the morning calisthenics, but didn’t grouse about them too much. I think he figured it was fair trade off for the fun stuff.  I’ll never forget when he came home and said, “Mom, today I got to search a house for bad guys.” All simulated, of course. But it made an impact on him. Where it did not make an impact is my wallet — Police Teen Academy is funding by grants, which makes it free to the teen participants. Each academy closes the week with a catered graduation ceremony on Friday night.

The communities of Zionsville, Carmel and Fishers all offer Police Teen Academies in conjunction with local organizations. The Zionsville PD teams up with the Boys and Girls Club of Zionsville. In Carmel, its Carmel High School that is the partner organization.  The Fishers YMCA is the collaborating organization in that community. The dates and times each academy is offered varies by communities.

Kids in tank

Two teen cadets check out an armored vehicle used for emergency response.

For more information, contact the local police departments directly:

Zionsville Police Teen Academy —  317-873-5967

Carmel Police Teen Academy — Sgt. Phil Hobson — (317) 571-2500

Fishers Police Teen Academy — Officer Cory Robinson — robinsonc@fishers.in.us