Letter: Junior Police Academy was inspirational, educational

To the Editor:

I am a graduated cadet of Ridgefield’s Junior Police Academy, and want to share how lucky I was to be able to participate in this one-week program. I learned so much about a policeman's job and was inspired to have a similar job. Before the academy, I had not known about all their different specialties, including canine patrol, detective unit, and bike officers. We were challenged to solve a crime and learned how to lift fingerprints, along with other useful skills that might be helpful someday.

We got a chance to meet and get to know all the police officers. They let us participate in the activities a policeman does and what choices they make, such as when to use pepper spray. We saw an officer shoot a live and loaded Taser at a dummy and then had a chance to shoot a Taser that wasn’t loaded. We saw the police shoot firearms such as an AR-15, a pump shotgun, and a Glock semi-automatic pistol. The officers instructed us about which guns are used depending on the crime. It’s been more than five years since they’ve had to use the Taser in Ridgefield, but they practice regularly so that they’re ready when they need it.

We didn’t shoot with any of the real guns ourselves but it was really interesting to see what they could do for the purposes the police need. We did get to participate in a simunition (shooting practice guns). The officers also taught us about the importance of gun safety, and gave us detailed instructions for how to properly store firearms, emptying the gun and storing the ammunition separately.

All in all, I enjoyed the week and now have a much better understanding of all that is involved in law enforcement. I think anybody who gets to take the program would really benefit from it.

Tad Fleuette

Round Lake Road, Aug. 11