Learning to Be a Deputy: Local Youth Participates in Law enforcement experience
story and photos by Amanda Vernon
Last week, an eager group gathered at the Morgan County Elementary School, Heritage Field, and other Morgan County locations.
“What are we?” yells Kristine Murrell, a police officer with the City of Madison.
“A team!” 30 enthusiastic Junior Deputies aged 9 to 11 respond.
The Junior Deputy Academy held its Eighth Annual Junior Deputy Academy, a free camp put together by the Morgan County Sheriff's Department that also includes representatives from the Madison Police Department, Georgia State Patrol, Fire Rescue and Department of Natural Resources. Junior Campers were divided into four teams and competed from 8 a.m. each morning to 4 p.m. in the afternoon in various challenges such as fingerprinting, crime scene processing, person searches, fire rescue and defensive tactics. The campers trained their hands and eyes with BB guns at a shooting range, and they trained their minds by learning the meaning of 35 of the 10-codes used by law enforcement.
Murrell describes the program as a “mini police academy,” saying that the Junior Deputies “get to experience a little bit of what we do.” Keeping the program serious, the campers had to learn discipline along with the rest of the curriculum and completed punishments if they misbehaved. “I push them through in a boot camp manner. I make them do push-ups,” says Murrell.
Though the program is tough, the campers still seemed to be having a good time.
“We got to shoot real guns,” enthused Charelle Howell, 10.
“There's really nothing to do in the summer, so I wanted to do something fun,” explained Chad Haynes, 10.
Kyle Kapp, 9, signed up because he wants to be a police officer when he grows up. “You get to shoot guns and arrest bad guys,” he said, “and that's what I want to do."