The Wellesley Police Department's Annual Youth Academy, held in conjunction with the Wellesley Youth Commission, is now underway! Twenty four middle school aged children spend the week with the Wellesley Police Department, learning about law enforcement and the inner workings of the Wellesley Police Department.
Each day, the cadets are exposed to a different aspect of what being a police officer is all about. The academy stresses full participation and cadets go 'hands on' whenever possible.
DAY ONE: JULY 30, 2012
The first day of the 2012 Youth Academy was a busy one. Cadets were introduced to 2012 staff, which consists of Maura Renzella (Youth Commission Director), Sgt. Brian Spencer, Sgt. Jeff Renzella, Sgt. Scott Whittemore, Dispatcher Sarah Walsh, and Officer Evan Rosenberg. The cadets were then shown equipment from the Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council's SWAT team.
Officer Tim Gover showed the cadets the command post, and cadets explored the armored vehicle the team uses. Officer Derrick Popovski, a sniper with the SWAT team, demonstrated the gear he uses when he deploys with the team.
The cadets then met Officer Mathews and Officer Rubino from the MBTA Transit Police Department Bomb Squad, as well as 'Lady', the Transit PD's K9 sniffing dog. Officer Rubino and Officer Mathews also showed us their bomb robots, and the gear they use when they approach a bomb. The highlight of the morning was when the cadets were allowed to operate the various bomb robots through the parking lot.
Old School Pizza in Wellesley Square then stopped by and donated 20 pizzas for lunch! The cadets certainly enjoyed the pizza, which was delicious. Thank you Old School Pizza!
Monday afternoon the cadets were given a tour of the Wellesley Police Department and the cruisers. We finished up with a demonstration of every piece of gear that the Wellesley Police Department uses on a daily basis. The cadets were then given the chance to go hands on with the gear which they seemed to enjoy.
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DAY 2 TUESDAY, JULY 31, 2012
Day 2 was a field trip day. We started off for Boston to meet up with the Massachusetts State Police Marine Unit, located in Boston Harbor. Cadets received a safety briefing from State Troopers about the State Police boats, and were issued their personal flotation devices. Then we loaded up into two patrol boats, and started into Boston Harbor on patrol.
Troopers first brought us around the inner harbor, and discussed some of the duties and challenges of law enforcement on a waterway. We did a close pass by the USS Constitution, and navigated by Long Wharf and over to the Seaport. Troopers then brought us to the end of the Logan Airport runaway, where we were overflown by aircraft in the landing pattern.
The Troopers then showed us the speed and maneuverability of their boats as we patrolled some of the islands. Cadets were able to see two very large cruise ships, one that was departing for the open water during the patrol, and a large Greek freighter that was unloading at one of the terminals..
Lunch was picnic style near the Charles River Lock system and North Station. Sergeant Jeff Renzella gave a lengthy lecture on train safety based upon his extensive knowledge of locomotives and railroad tracks.
We then headed over to Fenway Park, with a quick stop at JP Licks on Charles Street for ice cream. The cadets received a tour of the entire park, and watched the media setting up and some of early players arriving for batting practice. The highlight of the tour were the Green Monster seats and a few close calls from the players hitting balls toward us during BP.
DAY 3: AUGUST 1, 2012
On day 3, the cadets spent the day with the detectives from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Detectives demonstrated some of the techniques that they utilize to locate and process evidence at crime scenes. The cadets also learned about identification procedures and line ups.
In addition, the cadets learned how to take and lift fingerprints from objects. We tried out our knowledge by lifting latent prints from cups. These prints were invisible until the cadets applied fingerprint powder to the cup. The cadets also took their own fingerprints using ink.
The highlight of the day was making a hard plaster cast of shoe wear impressions in dirt. The cadets learned how to use dental stone to freeze these impressions found in the dirt. These type of impressions are frequently taken by detectives investigating crime scenes and can be compared to suspect shoe wear. Cadets were then able to take these casts home once they dried.
The afternoon was spent processing a mock crime scene and watching a demonstration of a felony arrest on Washington Street.
DAY 4: AUGUST 2, 2012
Day four was spent in Boston on another field trip. Cadets participated in a scavenger hunt along Boston's Freedom Trail. The cadets were split into four teams and given a list of things of things to see or obtain. Cadets also were given many historical trivia questions to answer.
We started at Boston Common, and some teams made their way to the North End, all the way to Paul Revere's house, before ending at Quincy Market, where we enjoyed lunch.
Congratulations to the team led by Sgt. Renzella and Dispatcher Walsh, who won the event.
DAY 5: AUGUST 3, 2012
Cadets started the day on Washington Street with Officer Cunningham, learning about RADAR and LIDAR. Cadets were then issued RADAR and LIDAR guns, and started checking speeds of passing vehicles on Washington Street. Needless to say, vehicles seemed to slow right down when they saw 23 cadets armed with LIDAR.
The cadets also learned how to use a police radio, and then participated in mock car stops and arrests.
We ended the week with a graduation ceremony and a slide show of the week's events.