WOODVILLE, TX (KTRE) - The Woodville Police Department is hosting a special police academy for teenagers. This week, the teens will be given a look behind the scenes of the lives of those behind the badges of Woodville law enforcement. The Woodville police chief said one of his main goals is to give the youth a positive perception of law enforcement.
Woodville Officer Bubba Sheffield began this week's Teen Police Academy by asking the youth the first thing that comes to mind when they think of an officer.
"One of the things we try to do is change the perception of how people look at officers," Sheffield said.
Following that question, a week's worth of SWAT tactics, Taser demonstrations, drug dog demonstrations, and multiple hands-on activities will go on.
"We really need to see real life up and close - what they actually do," said McKayla Marshal.
"We try to take them behind the scenes of what a police officer actually does," Sheffield said.
First responders like life flight and the fire department came to demonstrate the team work executed in order to protect citizens and save lives.
"We've talked to the probation officers, and we just learned a lot from the criminal justice system," said Krista Harris.
"They did a good job by giving us an opportunity to know what they do and how we would like it and what we would think about it once we graduate high school and go into our careers," said Keenan Adams.
The students will learn the ins and out of law enforcement. Wednesday, they'll be simulating a SWAT team.
"I'm grateful for people who come out and do things like this for kids because it's a great experience for everyone," Marshal said.
While immersing the youth in officer jargon and police tactics, Sheffield is aiming to send an underlying message to attendees.
"It's very important for the kids to know that we respect them and love them," Sheffield said.
At the end of the Teen Police Academy, he'll ask them once more what they feel about officers.
"A lot of them have tears and say that, 'I know when you take the uniform off, you're still an officer. When you put it on you're a dad, a husband, a pops, a pastor, a friend, a brother. You are all those things," Sheffield said.
The Woodville Teen Police Academy is completely free, and lunch is provided for students each day. It continues through July 14th.