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Local police program hopes to change policing perception

Local police program hopes to change...

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - A new class is in session and it's teaching teenagers that being an officer takes a lot more than what they might expect.

The Police Explorer Program started in November through another program called Learning for Life, which helps students explore different career paths.

It's designed to give students in high school a chance to explore what it's like to be a police officer.   

"We've had lessons on traffic stops and OWI laws, some upcoming lessons include domestic violence, how to write a report," said officer Kurt Weaver with the La Crosse Police Department.

Twice a month,14 students from La Crosse high schools spend their evenings in uniform to learn about the men and women behind the badge.

"Not only the good things we have to represent but also talk about some of the negative things that they could expect in a career in law enforcement also," Weaver said.

Aside from teaching CPR, self defense and arrest tactics, officers say the class also helps recruit more people in law enforcement.

"Because of the negativity surrounding the job, you know we'd have a post for a job, we'd have 50 applicants for a position, now we're lucky if we get 10 to 20. So just the pool has dropped and anytime you have a smaller pool to draw from, you're not going to get what you consider the very best always," Weaver said.

And students say they learned a big lesson.

"Their ability to stand up for what they do as their job and just to kind of protect others out there and it made me understand what they go through a lot and it made me want to do it more."

Students in the program come from Aquinas, Central and Logan high schools.

The police union pitched in $3,000 to provide uniforms for all of the students.






 


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