unnamed7Do you think you might want a career in law enforcement? Well if you answered yes and are a junior or senior in high school, or know someone who fits that description, you should know about the Suffolk Police Department’s Youth Academy.

The Youth Academy, offered once a year by the Suffolk County Police Academy, is a 5-day intense program for young adults who are considering a career in law enforcement. Entrance to the program is com- petitive with more than double the amount of applicants than available spots in the program. The evaluation criteria include academics, recommendations, and an interview process. High School’s that participate with the program work intensely with the applicants to assist them in resume preparation and interviewing skills.

Offered free of charge, the program gives an over- view and insight into real police academy training and is best described as a five-day crash course in police work, including introductions to basic law, self- defense, SWAT, aviation, and canine operations.

hoos unnamed3 unnamed6Young women’s participation and interest in the program has been increasing over the past few years and this past year, the Youth Academy class was split evenly between young women and men, with 20 each. That was the first time parity among genders was reached. Officer Savino, who supervises the program, told us, “each candidate was evaluated on the same criteria and this year the gender split was exactly even.”

The young participants are treated like real Academy recruits. There is a strict emphasis on discipline and excellence. As Officer Ross, a trainer at the Academy and key officer in the Youth Academy explained,

“We expect them to give 110%, just like we do our regular recruit classes. We demand a lot of them and for many of them it’s the first time they have been pushed to fully meet their potential. By the end of the 5-days most of them don’t want to leave.”

In fact, Officer Savino told us that many parents will call or write afterwards wondering how in 5-days they had transformed their typical teenager into a respect- ful, disciplined, well-mannered young adult.

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Some graduates from the program are asked back the following year to work as “Red Hats” with the new recruits. The Red Hat’s work primarily as mentors and work with the incoming class to help them better understand the expectations and how to handle uniform requirements and formation control. Officer Savino explained it, “Red Hats are the most outstanding graduates and work with us and the new recruits to maximize each individual’s potential. What we are asking from them is completely foreign to them, so the red hats help them translate our expectations.”

If you are interested in applying for the program, please call 631-853-7000 to get additional information.